By Suleman Tudu
Zamfara Circle Community Initiative, a Civil Society Organization based in Zamfara has condemned the exchange of words between Zamfara state government and the federal government of Nigeria (FG) over the alleged secret negotiations with bandit terrorists in the state.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr Aminu M. Lawal, the group has described the war of words as unwarranted and appealed to the two tiers of government to find a way to resolve their issues and collectively address banditry.
Smart News recalls that Governor Dauda Lawal accused some agents of the FG for holding secret negotiations with bandits in Zamfara without the knowledge of the state government, the claim rebutted by the Minister of Defense, Abubakar Badaru.
“Zamfara Circle Community Initiative followed with dismay, the unfortunate war of words between Zamfara state Government (ZMSG) and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) over an alleged “secret” negotiations with bandit terrorists initiated by the agents of the latter without the consent of the former.
“This exchange of words between the two tiers of government that ought to rub shoulders to bring an end to over a decade of bloodshed, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Zamfara state is unwarranted, unbecoming, irresponsible, heartless and remains unreservedly condemned by the Circle. Security of lives and property of the people should not be politicized by any responsible government or individuals.
“Ideally, State Governments and the FGN should see themselves as partners—not rivals—that must keep political differences aside, work together as a system to ensure security of lives and properties which is the primary responsibility of the government. The Circle wishes to urge ZMSG and the FGN to henceforth desist from this embarrassing public exchange of words, take responsibility, find a way to resolve issues and establish an effective collaboration to end banditry for our collective good and survival” the Circle said.
The group has also urged Governor Dauda Lawal to stop unnecessary travels and assemble competent teams to develop security and development strategic plans for the state adding that the Governor has no luxury of time while the Zamfara is being taken over by the bandits.
“The Circle reiterates its earlier call on Governor Dauda Lawal to, as a matter of urgency, restore governance at local government levels and make strategic plans that will speed up development in Zamfara’s remote rural communities.
“The Circle urges His Excellency to assemble a competent security strategy team to design a work plan that will produce a workable, realistic and sustainable framework that will bring a lasting solution to the state’s security predicaments. The team will map-out and engage with all stakeholders to make it all inclusive, community-driven and participatory. This will make the project acceptable by all stakeholders and ensure its full and hitch-free implementation,” the group suggested.
Meanwhile, while calling for synergy between Governors of the Northwest, the group have appealed to President Tinubu to deploy Matawalle to another Ministry and establish Northwest Development Commission.
“At this juncture, the Circle wishes to appeal to His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to deploy the immediate past Governor of Zamfara state Hon. Bello Matawalle from the Ministry of Defense as a State Minister to another Federal Ministry for the interest of peace and to block any loophole that may lead to politicization of the security in Zamfara— a state which was unfortunately adjudged to be the epicenter of banditry in Nigeria.
“Addressing banditry in Zamfara state is critical and a sine qua non towards addressing this menace in the troubled Northwest region and by extension, the whole country. The Circle therefore calls on the Northwest Governors to emulate their Northeast counterparts by working in synergy to restore peace and development to the region,” the Circle appealed.
The group added that due to the loss of property and other means of livelihood in the Northwest, President to establish a Northwest Development Commission to help in providing critical infrastructure and the much needed development in the Northwest region.