The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has said the state is no longer interested in dialoguing with bandits as they rejected the olive branch stretched at them earlier.
Matawalle, who spoke in Gusau, said bandits in Zamfara forests were already feeling the heat of renewed military airstrikes and had been sending emissaries to the state government, praying for amnesty.
The governor said the bandits’ emissaries informed him that they had repented and would want to dialogue with government.
Matawalle, however, said he had rebuffed the overture, vowing that the only option was for the security forces to flush the bandits out of the state.
“My administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits as they have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them,’’ the governor said, while addressing a congregation.
The governor urged residents to be patient and to support new security measures put in place to flush out bandits and their collaborators to restore peace in the state.
He noted that some of the bandits were running out of Zamfara to other states as a result of the new security measures introduced by the state government.
Matawalle warned politicians against giving any form of support to bandits, stressing that “politicians should fear God and stop buying motorcycles to distribute to people who, in turn, sell to bandits to perpetuate their evil acts.’’
The governor said the state government would prosecute any politician caught in the act.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Zamfara had introduced some stringent measures aimed at cutting off food, petroleum products supply and other essential commodities from the reach of the bandits in their various camps.
The government had intercepted many vehicles conveying foodstuffs, drinks and petroleum products to various bandits’ camps in the state.
Matawalle had established a special task force to enforce measures to address the lingering security challenges of mass kidnapping for ransom and cattle rustling in the state.
On August 26, the governor signed an Executive Order suspending all weekly markets in Zamfara, banned bicycles and motorcycles from carrying more than one passenger and not more than three passengers in the case of tricycles.
The state government had also established mobile courts to prosecute violators.
Meanwhile, commercial activities in Zamfara State have declined following the two weeks suspension of telecommunications services in the state by the Nigerian Communication Commission.
All banking services, mobile telephone services, Internet and other related services have also been suspended.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Mr Ayuba Elkanah, has announced the suspension of movement of all motorcycles with clutches in the 13 local government areas of the state.
In a chat with journalists, Elkanah urged members of the public to continue to support security agencies by giving them vital information that would assist them in the anti-banditry campaign.
The CP said, “In a bid to achieve this aim, additional measures have been put in place.
“Riding of motorcycles that have clutches have been banned in the 13 local government areas of the state in addition to the earlier enforcement of restrictions on motorcycles and tricycles in the Gusau Local Government Area.
“In Gusau area, Damba and Mada are equally affected in the ban on riding motorcycles with clutches.’’