SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari has ruled out the option of dialogue with bandits who have unsettled the peace of the state in recent times.
According to the Governor, he had tried the amnesty option in the state three times but found that those perpetuating banditry activities in the state were not willing to turn a new leaf.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, Governor Yari disclosed that the bandits were better equipped than the military command in the state and called on the authorities to make efforts to reverse that trend.
He, however, expressed optimism that with the placement for equipment by the Federal Government from different countries, it was a matter of time for the bandits to meet their Waterloo.
Yari also pledged for collaboration by the front line States so that offensive against those criminal elements could be spontaneous.
Responding to questions by correspondents, he said: “Well, I think is not just state by state matter but a regional problem.because, we are surrounded by forests. We have Kuyambana to Rugu down to Maradi Republic. The bandits are taking advantage of the fact that we are living like an Island because we are surrounded by forests;. From Sokoto we have Basuguma, in Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Niger, we have Kuyambana Dansado forest there, in Katsina, we have Rugu and at South East of Zamfara where we have Maradi, we have forest there.
“So as the Governor of Katsina said, we have to collaborate. I know our security chiefs meet quarterly to review their performance, the gain and the loss, the same thing goes for our brothers in Maladi. I think the operations need to be carried out simultaneously because the issue is we are surrounded by forest. The point is, when Katsina puts pressure on the bandits they will run into the forest in Zamfara, if Zamfara puts pressure on them, they move to Minna or Birnin Gwari. So this is the issue, so there is need for collaboration.
“So the soldiers need to be equipped with the equipment that can stand the test of time. Yesterday (Monday), when we were having our security meeting, we could understand the constraints of the security personnel that are on ground there. We are definitely going to collaborate, especially since I am running on the last lap of my full tenure, I will ensure that in these months that is left, we will leave behind a peaceful state for the new administration that is coming in.
“The Federal Government has already given procurement contracts, inter-government transaction to the United States, China and other European countries. Recall that in 2018, the Nigeria Governors Forum, approved $1billion to support the Federal Government’s effort in equipping the security agencies. We believe the equipment will soon come into the country and it is our hope that the equipment will be used so that this worrying situation that we are will become history. ”
On dialogue with bandits, he said: ” Well, I have told my people that that will no longer take place during my time. Because, I have done that three times but it did not work. This is in the sense that we know their capacity.
“For instance, during the first dialogue, they invited some of our team, Army, DSS, Police and my chief security officer as well as some traditional rulers representatives and we have seen what they have. They are in control of the kind of weapons that the Command In Zamfara State does not have. In one
armoury alone, they have over 500 AK47, we saw it.
“Our people were even given chance to take pictures. But when we said we will dialogue, offer amnesty, that they should surrender their arms, I can tell you till date we did not get up to 90 AK47, so it is a deceit. That is why I said no more dialogue during my tenure.
“During dry season they will look for dialogue because they know the security can get access to anywhere in the forest and they have no place to hide. But when the rainy season comes and the forest becomes thicker, they will return to their normal practice. That is why I said there has to be show of force before anything else. I know that in any war, eventually you have to come to the table and dialogue but the situation we are right now sincerely speaking, dialogue is not needed at this point in time.”
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