Governors must use talks with bandits to end killings - Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Wednesday called on his colleagues to adopt dialogue as a way of tackling security challenges being witnessed in parts of the country.

Matawalle made the call in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“I have been calling on my colleagues to gather all the stakeholders to discuss this and find the causes of the crises so that they can be able to initiate reconciliation and dialogue with those people, so that they can be able to achieve what I achieved in my state,” the governor who said the President called him to brief him on the security situation in his state told reporters.

The governor said although his state was always in the news regarding banditry, kidnapping and killings in the past, peace had returned to the state.

Matawalle said calm was restored due to “my initiative of holding dialogue with them.”

He said he was already in discussion with his Niger State counterpart, whom he said was following his footsteps in reaching out to repentant bandits, so that they could help the state government to initiate peace deal with those in the state.

The governor stressed the need for state governments to interrogate why some individuals take up arms.

He cited an example of his state, where he said some took up arms to revenge the perceived injustice done to them by members of a vigilante group and the military.

The governor said, “Not all of them are criminals. If you investigate what is happening and what made them to take the law into their own hands, some of them were cheated by so-called the vigilante groups.

“They normally go to their settlements and destroy property and take their animals. They did not have anyone to speak with, so sometime, they go for revenge. When the vigilante groups attack them, they go for reprisals. That’s exactly what happened.”

Matawalle, who opposed the migration of herdsmen from one state to the other, said he was already building a settlement in his state that could contain the pastoralists and stop them from moving around.

He added, “In my state, I am constructing RUGA for them, a settlement that can contain some of them, because sincerely speaking, if we allow them going round from one place to another, we cannot find a solution to this issue.

“So, the only thing the governors should do, and we are discussing that, is to contain them in one place. Like a Fulani from Zamfara should not migrate to another neighbouring state. How are we going to do that? This is something that needs a lot of resources, because you will have to create something that can engage them.

“You have to provide social amenities for them. Like the RUGA that we are doing, we have many amenities like school, hospital, veterinary clinic, market and even a mini stadium.