Buhari orders ‘special focus’ on Zamfara over banditry resurgence

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President Buhari has said that there will soon be a meeting on how to address the growing insecurity in Zamfara State.

Though the date for the meeting was not disclosed, Buhari has ordered the National Security Adviser (NSA)  Babagana Monguno, to keep tabs on  Zamfara pending the deliberation.

The president noted that the resurgence of banditry in the Northwestern state demanded a special focus.

These were made known in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, on Thursday.

The statement read in part, “In a directive to the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), the President ordered that there must be a clear pathway to ending the resurgent banditry that has continued to cost lives and the displacement of thousands of families from their towns and villages,”

It added, “Recall that recently, the Speaker of the Zamfara State House of Assembly, Hon. Nasir Magarya, wrote a letter in which he appealed to President Buhari to intervene and stop the incessant killings by bandits in the State.

“In this respect, a meeting is soon to take place that will deliberate on security and the issue of illegal mining which is fueling the crisis in Zamfara State.

“In addition to NSA the convener, the meeting will be attended by Major-General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), Ogbeni Ra’uf Aregbesola and Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, Ministers of Defence, Interior, and Mines and Steel respectively.

“Also to attend the meeting are the Directors-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, and the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.”

Shehu said beyond the problems of bandits and cattle rustlers, the scale of lawlessness has also been aggravated by illegal miners who are harvesting resources they have no rights to.

According to him, statistics suggest that there are more than 20,000 such miners operating in a manner that is harmful and destructive.

He said the meeting of the officials is expected to address these and associated issues of corruption, government oversight and lawlessness.

Zamfara has witnessed series of attacks from bandits recently which have made many residents of the state to flee their homes to seek refuge in other neighbouring states.

Governor Matawalle of Zamfara has been accused of aiding banditry in the entire Northwest of the country.

The All Progressives Congress, in December last year, said one governor in the Northwest was aiding banditry.

Though the governor’s name was not mentioned he swiftly responded to the allegation by saying the party was just being mischievous.

Matawalle, who was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, asked his Northern counterparts elected on the platform of APC to come and learn how to combat banditry and all manner of insurgency from him.

But barely a month after the allegation from the APC, Maradun, another politician in the state alleged the governor of donating vehicles and cash to bandits.

The governor had since debunked the allegation saying he donated the said vehicles and cash to security operatives in the state.

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