Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State on Wednesday met with officials of the Fulani umbrella body, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in his push to end banditry and kidnappings in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Fulanis are largely blamed for bandit attacks in the state and have been declared persona non grata in some communities.
Matawalle said that the meeting was at the instance of President Muhammad Buhari who directed that all stakeholders be engaged in the search for an end to the criminality.
“You know, I met with President Muhammad Buhari recently over security challenges facing the state.
“Part of the promise I made to Mr President was to meet and discuss with stakeholders on how to end banditry activities in the state, so I’m complying with Mr President directives over his concern for the people.
“The security challenges in Zamfara was my concern even before I became a governor. I thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to lead this state.
“It is very unfortunate; Fulanis were known to be a peace-loving (people). People had good relationships with the Fulanis, and any law-abiding Fulani today is not happy with what is happening in Zamfara and other parts of the country.
“Some bad elements among us are fond of smearing the image of the Fulanis. As I heard in some towns in this state, Fulanis cannot come out, so we want to stop that, we want to carry everyone along.
“As I said during my inauguration, I will not allow extrajudicial killings in this state. I promise to do justice to everyone and ensure the maintenance of law and order.
“We are presenting a bill on death penalty to the state House of Assembly against bandits and their informants (sic).
“I have the plan to import grass seeds from China to be given to Fulanis to enhance feeds for their animals.
“I have various plans to address security challenges in this state through various economic and social services.
“We are going to provide infrastructures to Fulani herders in the state such as hospitals, schools and roads among others”, the governor said.
He, therefore, urged MACABAN to work with the government in seeing to the fruition of the government programmes and in engaging the bandits to repent.
The MACBAN National President, Muhammad Kiruwa, appealed to the state government to involve its members in the Civilian Joint Task Force and Vigilante groups in the state.
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