Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Tuesday affirmed that bandits operating in his state are better equipped than the military trying to dislodge them.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, he, however, ruled out dialogue with the terrorists as a way to end the menace.
The governor said government agents had been able to inspect the bandits’ armoury and discovered that they had more arms than the military command in the state.
According to him, on one armoury alone, the bandits have over 500 Ak-47 rifles.
He hoped that with the arrival of the $1billion arms ordered by the federal government, the military will be able to deal a decisive blow on the criminals.
Yari said: “Yes indeed. The federal government has already given procurement contracts, the inter-government transaction to the United States, China and other European countries.
“Recall that in 2018, the Nigeria Governors Forum, approved $1 billion to support the federal government’s effort in equipping the security agencies.
“We believe the equipment will soon come into the country and it is our hope that the equipment will be used so that this worrying situation that we are will become history.”
On the suggestion of dialogue as a way out, Yari stated that it would not happen during the remaking part of his tenure, noting that since the bandits rely on the thickness of forest during raining season, they would deal with during the dry season.
He added: “Well, I have told my people that that will no longer take place during my time because I have done that three times but it did not work. This is in the sense that we know their capacity.
“For instance, during the first dialogue, they invited some of our team, army, DSS, police and my chief security officer as well as some traditional rulers representatives and we have seen what they have.
“They are in control of the kind of weapons that the Command In Zamfara State does not have.
“In one armoury alone, they have over 500 AK47, we saw it. Our people were even given the chance to take pictures.
“But when we said we will dialogue, offer amnesty, that they should surrender their arms, I can tell you till date, we did not get up to 90 AK47. So, it is a deceit.
“That is why I said no more dialogue during my tenure.
“During the dry season, they will look for dialogue because they know the security can get access to anywhere in the forest and they have no place to hide. But when the rainy season comes and the forest becomes thicker, they will return to their normal practice.
“That is why I said there has to be a show of force before anything else. I know that in any war, eventually, you have to come to the table and dialogue but the situation we are right now sincerely speaking, a dialogue is not needed at this point in time.”
The governor spoke on the need for cooperation among the states sharing borders to put pressure on the bandits.
“We are definitely going to collaborate, especially since I am running on the last lap of my full tenure. I will ensure that in these months that are left, we will leave behind a peaceful state for the new administration that is coming in,” he stated.
Also speaking to correspondents, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State said he was meeting with various security outfits on the way to tackle the banditry also affecting his state.
He said: “Part of what we are doing is that I have seen some security chiefs. Before I leave Abuja, I will see the IGP and the DG DSS to further discuss and develop on what we are doing with the military and the people that are on ground presently.
“It is not only about deployment; it is about strategy.”
Masari, who has just been re-elected, said his re-election is a reward for the good work his administration has done in the three and half years.
“We made promises to the people of Kastina in 2015; they voted us on the basis of those promises and we are happy to say that we have done more than 70 per cent of what we promised the people of Kastina.
“We promised them that we will continue the agenda on education, health; agriculture, infrastructure, security and because what we have done in the last four years, they believed us and massively voted for us,” he stated.
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