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Kagara Abduction: Negotiate With Bandits Now, Matawalle Tells Bello

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Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has once again called on his Niger state counterpart, Abubakar Bello to negotiate with bandits.

He made the call while speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday.

Recall that governor Bello had said that his government will not negotiate with bandits, but will ensure the return of students and staff of Government Secondary School in Kagara.

Matawalle asked his colleague to dialogue with the bandits to ensure the release of the students, staff, and family members of the school.

The governor noted that negotiation was not a sign of weakness but part of peace efforts. He added that not all bandits were criminals.

Speaking futher, Matawalle asserted that he inherited banditry from the previous administration, noting that Zamfara is enjoying peace right now due to the amnesty granted bandits.

According to the governor, discussion were still ongoing with Bello concerning his state, adding that there shall be an end to the clashes soon.

He said: “It had been there for almost eight years before I came. Following the dialogue I initiated with the bandits, Zamfara is now very calm.

“I have advised the Governor of Niger to meet with all stakeholders and find out the root cause of the crisis so as to initiate dialogue and ensure reconciliation. That is the only way to achieve what I have been able to achieve in my State.

“Most of the criminals that caused trouble in Zamfara were not from my State. Two months ago, we had some repentant bandits who surrendered their weapons. One was from Yobe, two from Kaduna, two from Niger; so, you see, it is a gang.”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.