The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has said granting amnesty and forgiving repentant bandits is the only way to stop banditry in the state and tackle Nigeria’s security challenges.
In an interview on a Channels TV programme on Sunday, the governor said he cannot watch or fold his arms seeing residents being kidnapped and killed every day by bandits.
Justify the policy, Matawalle disclosed more than 1,000 persons abducted by the bandits have regained freedom as a result of the amnesty granted to them.
The governor revealed that he never paid ransom to any bandit and he has received over 300 sophisticated weapons surrendered by the repentant bandits and their gang leaders
He said: “I cannot fold my arms seeing my people being killed every day.
“The Zamfara template is a focus on inviting various armed groups to subscribe to our non-kinetic approach of forgiveness, disarmament, de-mobilisation and re-integration of repentant bandits into the society.
“We consider this peace process as the best approach as large numbers of those participating in various crimes of kidnapping animals, banditry were pushed into these by circumstances such as reprisals and lawlessness of self-acclaimed vigilante groups.
“The Zamfara template is all about building a foundation upon which we hope the entire country will adopt as a sustainable means.”
He said as a result of the pardon granted to bandits, Zamfara “is not only calm” but “we have opened up a livelihood for our people as they have now gone back to their normal lives”.
“We have also secured the release of over 1,000 people without paying any ransom. We equally received over 300 sophisticated weapons surrendered by the repentant bandits and their gang leaders,” the governor said.
“We believe it is the best alternative to the present security situation facing our country.”