Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State has inaugurated four committees on security matters and provided 20 brand new Hilux vehicles and 1,500 motorbikes for the commencement of operations.
The Press Secretary to the Governor, Jamilu Iliyasu Magaji, disclosed this on Tuesday.
The committees are Special Committee on Intelligence Gathering on Banditry, Management Committee on Operations of the Community Protection Guards (CPG), Committee on Prosecution of Banditry Related Offences, and State Security Standing Committee.
Matawalle said the establishment of the committees was part of the tireless efforts of his administration to address the prolonged problem of banditry plaguing the state and other states in the northwest zone.
The governor explained that his administration had explored all workable options to address banditry and related crimes in the state.
These options, he said, include dialogue, reconciliation and disarmament strategy, regular engagement with the Federal Government on the issue of security, collaboration with the neighbouring states and the authorities of Niger Republic, shutting down of mobile telecommunication networks to give security forces the leeway to take the battle directly to the bandits’ fortresses.
He added that his administration had provided a settlement for nomads popularly known as RUGA and provision of logistic support to security forces including vehicles and drones.
To this end, Matawalle maintained that the committees inaugurated would further boost the state government’s efforts to combat the dreadful challenge, in both the short and long terms.
Governor Matawalle said the committee members were selected based on their track records of performances and expressed confidence that they would faithfully carry out their mandates to accomplish the goals.
He pointed out that the state government and the entire security agencies in the state would support the committees to continuously work out strategies aimed at crushing the tide of banditry in all parts of the state.
“We are aware of misgivings expressed in some quarters regarding the new measures, particularly the decision to encourage members of the communities suffering almost daily from the inhumane aggressions of the bandits to acquire firearms to defend their communities,” Matawalle said.
He said self-defence is a natural instinct and has always been part of human survival strategy, saying, “as those entrusted with the safety of lives and property of the people, we will do everything possible to uphold this responsibility within the ambit of the law.”
He added, “We are also aware that the security forces are doing their best to combat this formidable challenge. Their efforts are however hampered by lack of adequate modern warfare equipment and the shortage of personnel.
“Our decision to mobilise people to secure their communities is therefore for the people to complement the efforts of the conventional security forces in dealing with banditry and fishing out informants. The acquisition and usage of firearms by members of the general public who desire to do so would be governed by the Nigeria Firearms Act.”
In recent weeks, he said the state had witnessed increased attacks on some parts of Gusau, Bukkuyum and Gummi local government areas, sympathising with the people of the affected villages.