Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State has said his administration has enough facts to show that some officials of the Federal Government met secretly with bandits in the state.
On Monday, Lawal had claimed that some agencies of the Bola Tinubu-led government had entered a secret dialogue with the bandits after he ruled out the option of negotiating with criminals.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, the governor said some government agencies engaged in negotiations with bandits without the knowledge of the state government and other security agencies.
Lawal, therefore, called for an urgent and comprehensive investigation by the Tinubu government into the secretive negotiations held with bandits in the state by the agencies.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, the Federal Government claimed that there was no truth in the claim that some of its agencies held a secret negotiation with bandits in Zamfara.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, however, accused the Zamfara government of politicising security in the state.
Responding to the minister, the Zamfara governor said he had evidence to expose some Federal Government agents involved in the negotiations with bandits.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Lawal stated that the Minister of Information should have conducted a thorough investigation before discrediting his government.
The governor, therefore, urged the federal government to take a firm stance against such activities and investigate the motives of those who engage in negotiating with the criminals.
The statement read in parts: “We sought clarification from the Federal Government regarding the sneaky negotiations with bandits carried out by some of its agents without recourse to the State Government and heads of Security agencies in the State.
“We have facts and evidence on what had transpired between these agents of the Federal Government and the bandits during the negotiations in several places across Zamfara.
“It is disappointing that the information minister discredited our claim without verifying it first. What is expected of him as a professional is to collaborate with relevant authorities to substantiate the claim’s authenticity.
“Zamfara State Government respects protocol and established authority. We would not come out in the media to start exposing the names of the Federal Government agents involved in the covert dialogue with bandits.
“We want to clarify that those individuals leading secret negotiations with bandits in Zamfara are politicising insecurity, not the State Government.
“The Information Minister’s statement claiming that there were no negotiations between government officials and bandits in Zamfara requires further clarification. We have already exposed a few locations where such talks were held with bandits, such as Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Mun Haye, Ajah, Bawo, and Bagege.
“Negotiating with bandits in Zamfara is a grave mistake we cannot afford to make. It is not the solution to the problem and only encourages and emboldens the criminals.
“We urge the Federal Government to take a firm stance against such activities and investigate the motives of those who engage in them.”