- Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, on Tuesday, said the state government has enough facts to expose the agents of the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government behind the secret negotiation with bandits.
The governor, who had consistently ruled out the option of negotiating with bandits, had earlier raised the alarm that the Nigerian government had entered a secret dialogue with the criminals.
SaharaReporters reported that the governor called for an urgent and comprehensive investigation by Tinubu’s government into the “secretive negotiations” held with bandits in Zamfara State.
The statement issued by the state government had noted that reports indicated that a delegation of some agencies of the government had been holding talks with bandit groups in Zamfara without the knowledge of the state government.
Governor Lawal on Monday, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Sulaiman Bala Idris, lamented the action of some Federal Government agencies engaged in negotiations with bandits without the knowledge of the state government and other security agencies.
But the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, accused the Zamfara Government of politicising security.
However, in a swift response on Tuesday, Lawal’s spokesman, Sulaiman Bala Idris, said the governor had evidence exposing some Federal Government agents involved in the negotiations with bandits in Zamfara.
He added that the Minister of Information should have conducted a thorough investigation before discrediting the State Government.
The statement read in part, “We sought clarification from the Federal Government regarding the sneaky negotiations with bandits carried out by some of its agents without recourse to the State Government and heads of Security agencies in the State.
“We have facts and evidence on what had transpired between these agents of the Federal Government and the bandits during the negotiations in several places across Zamfara.
“It is disappointing that the information minister discredited our claim without verifying it first. What is expected of him as a professional is to collaborate with relevant authorities to substantiate the claim’s authenticity.
“Zamfara State Government respects protocol and established authority. We would not come out in the media to start exposing the names of the Federal Government agents involved in the covert dialogue with bandits.
“We want to clarify that those individuals leading secret negotiations with bandits in Zamfara are politicising insecurity, not the state government.
“The Information Minister’s statement claiming that there were no negotiations between government officials and bandits in Zamfara requires further clarification. We have already exposed a few locations where such talks were held with bandits, such as Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Mun Haye, Ajah, Bawo, and Bagege.
“Negotiating with bandits in Zamfara is a grave mistake we cannot afford to make. It is not the solution to the problem and only encourages and emboldens the criminals. We urge the Federal Government to take a firm stance against such activities and investigate the motives of those who engage in them.”