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Zamfara Gov, Bello Matawale Says Not All Bandits Are Criminals

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Zamfara state governor, Bello Matawalle, has said not all bandits who terrorise parts of the state and other neighbouring states are criminals.

Speaking after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Governor explained that most of the bandits resort to violence due to the injustice meted on them by some members of the society.

Recall that hundreds of persons have been displaced, maimed, killed or kidnapped by bandits in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna and Nasarawa States in recent years.

 

Despite the attacks on innocent citizens, Matawalle has repeatedly called on the federal government to grant amnesty to repentant bandits.

While explaining the reasons for the attacks, Matawalle said those saddled with the responsibility of protecting the community sometimes rustle their cattle and destroy their livelihood.

 

He said since they have nobody to speak to, they resort to violence, stressing;

Not all of them are criminals. If you investigate what is happening, and what made them to take the laws into their hands, some of them, sometimes were cheated by so-called the vigilante group.

They normally go to their settlements and destroy property and take their animals. They did not have anyone to speak with, so sometimes, they go for revenge. When the vigilante group attacks them, they go for reprisals. That is exactly what happened.

He also indicted the military, whom he said contribute to the problems in the villages, saying;

Some of them are living in settlements close to villages or towns. When there are military operations, the military will go and destroy their property and animals. They are angry with such actions sometimes. If you are talking to them, you can understand where they are coming from and their problems.

It is important for us as leaders to sit down with them and understand what is the genesis. You can’t just conclude that this person is a criminal. You have to listen to him. What led him to go into such activities?

The Governor added;

It is not all Fulanis that are criminals. Some are good citizens, but due to some circumstances, they subscribed to such criminality but when we had the information, we called their leaders and sat with them, they told us their grudges and we sorted out the way the communities and the Fulanis can resolve their issues without any serious crisis.

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