Govt not interested in dialogue with Bandits — Matawalle

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Gov. Bello Matawalle

The Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, has said the state government is no longer interested in dialoguing with bandits as they have rejected the olive branch earlier extended to them.

Speaking in Gusau, the state capital, he said that instead of dialogue, security forces would flush them out.

“My administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits as they have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them,” the governor said while addressing a congregation.

He urged residents to be patient and support new security measures put in place to flush out bandits and their collaborators to restore peace in the state.

Matawalle said the barrage of attacks on bandits by security forces had made them to make a fresh overture to government, seeking dialogue.

He said their emissaries informed him that they had repented and would want to dialogue with the government.

He noted that some of the bandits were running out of Zamfara to other states as a result of the new security measures introduced by the state government.

The governor warned politicians against giving any form of support to bandits, advising them to “fear God and stop buying motorcycles to distribute to people who in turn sell to bandits to perpetuate their evil acts.”

He warned that the government would prosecute any politician caught in the act.

Meanwhile, commercial activities in the state have been halted following the two- week suspension of telecommunication network by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

All banking services, mobile telephone services, internet and other related services have also been suspended.

In a related development, the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Ayuba Elkanah, announced the suspension of movement of all motorcycles with clutches in 13 local government areas of the state.

In a chat with journalists, Elkanah urged members of the public to continue to support security agencies by giving them vital information that would assist in fighting crimes and criminally in the state.

He said, “In a bid to achieve this aim, additional measures have been put in place. Riding of motorcycles that have clutches have been banned in the 13 local government areas of the state, in addition to the earlier enforcement of restrictions on motorcycles and tricycles in Gusau Local Government Area.

“In Gusau area, Damba and Mada are equally affected in the ban on riding motorcycles with clutches,’’ Elkanah said.

The police commissioner said they had authoritative information that some unscrupulous elements use the vehicles, especially Golf III cars and Canter trucks, to supply petroleum products and food items to bandits in their camps.

Elkanah enjoined residents in Zamfara to bear with the security agencies because the measures put in place were temporary and in the best interest of the state.

“We urge residents to remain law-abiding and collaborate with security agencies in ensuring that peace and security is restored in the state,” the police commissioner said.