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Banditry will swallow up north-west if governors do not wake up, says Matawalle

Zamfara state governor, Bello Matawalle has asked his northern colleagues to wake up and fight insecurity in the region.

This request was made by the governor on Sunday at the annual lecture of the Arewa Media Writers Association in Kaduna.

Matawalle who was represented by his commissioner for information, Ibrahim Dosara said unless the region takes decisive actions, the lingering insecurity will consume the north-west and the country.

Matawalle also blamed the northern leaders for not being united in combating the security challenges in the region.

“Unless we all wake up to the situation, the war against banditry in the north-west will remain a challenge that has the potential to swallow the region and the country at large. We need to get to the roots of the situation and stop politicising it,” he said.

“Unless we all wake up to the situation, the war against banditry in the north-west will remain a significant security challenge that has the potential to swallow the region and the country. The destruction that banditry is wreaking on the region’s people and economy is unfathomable.

“When I took over office on May 29th, 2019, Zamfara state had already been mired in a serious security crisis for over a decade, marked by banditry, livestock rustling, kidnapping and a host of other crimes.

“On almost daily basis, the state was in the news for bloodletting, fire, pillage and significant displacement of people, particularly those living in rural areas.

“The historical, economic, social and cultural ties between the dominant communities of Fulani and Hausa were ruptured; farming activities across the state were halted, and commercial activities were crippled.

“With poverty on the increase and food security seriously affected by the crisis, the state was on the verge of a catastrophic social eruption capable of destabilizing our communities and the northwest sub-region.

“Rural banditry in Zamfara and other parts of the north, in my opinion, is a result of the progressive degradation of our moral standards and a culture of greed fed by an unfettered need for material goods.

“It is evident, therefore, that we, the leaders, are responsible for the plight of the north. The north lacks responsible leadership to steer it through our time’s uncharted waters.

“Reluctance by the affected states to embrace peace dialogue, which would have deprived the recalcitrant bandits currently tormenting our people of safe corridors in the region.

“Our ruling elite has no vision for the region beyond gaining political power. We have all seen how the elites in the south-east and south-west respond in unison to all matters concerning their regions’ development. We have seen how they have a defined agenda and are relentless in their pursuit of regional development.”

The governor added that the “reluctance by the affected states to embrace peace, dialogue, lack of support from a section of politicians” is slowing down peace efforts in the region.

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