Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has denied reports that he bought and gave vehicles to some of the bandits involved in criminal activities in the state who have now repented.
The governor broke his silence on the allegation published by a prominent online publication at an inter-sectoral security meeting with traditional rulers, security agents, religious leaders and journalists at the Government House, Gusau, on Thursday.
“I am in receipt of report that l bought Hilux vans to repentant bandits which l never did,” Matawalle said.
“Brig. Gen. Bello, have l ever given any vehicle to even repentant bandits in the state as reported recently by Sahara Reporters,” the governor asked the 1 Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army, Gusau.
The army officer, however, informed the gathering that soldiers in the state, including himself, were surprised when they saw the report and that the governor had never done anything like that apart from the 200 operational vehicles given to the security agencies by the state government last year.
The Governor also ordered the immediate suspension of unspecified number of district and village heads in Maradun Emirate where some Fulanis were killed in cold blood on Thursday.
“It is sad to note that during this meeting, we have received two different security breach reports from two different areas.
“The Emir of Maradun is hereby directed to leave this meeting, suspend the traditional rulers in which these acts took place and initiate ways to identify and bring the perpetrators of the act to the authorities within the next three days or face the consequence himself,” the governor declared.
He warned that, henceforth, any traditional ruler in whose area the outlawed ‘Yan sa kai (volunteer security members) attacked anyone whether voluntarily or by taking the law into their hands, the Special Adviser should immediately suspend the affected traditional ruler before setting up investigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor summoned the stakeholders’ emergency meeting immediately on his return from an official engagement outside the state following recent spate of armed banditry and mischievous speculations.