Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara on Sunday, July 25, appealed to northern leaders to unite and end the incessant banditry and kidnapping ravaging the region.
Matawalle made a call in a presentation: “Fight against banditry in North West, Nigeria; challenges and solutions”, at the annual lecture by Arewa Media Writers Association in Kaduna.
He attributed the lingering security challenges confronting the region to the lack of unity among the leaders that allowed criminals turn the region into a killing field.
He also noted that banditry ravaging the northwestern states, if not urgently tackled, would consume the entire northern region and the country at large.
“Unless we all wake up to the situation, the war against banditry in the North West will remain a challenge that has the potential to swallow the region and the country at large. We need to get to the roots of the situation; and stop politicising it,” he said.
The governor urged the northern leaders to urgently set aside their differences; and proffer lasting solutions to the banditry as well as kidnapping before the situation got out of hand.
He, however, averred that the activities of the bandits in the region; were orchestrated by age-long injustice as well as leadership failure.
Matawalle said that some politicians were taking advantage of the situation to achieve political goals.
“Unless we all wake up to the situation, the war against banditry in the northwest will remain a significant security challenge; that has the potential to swallow the region and the country.
“The destruction that banditry is wreaking on the region’s people; and the economy is unfathomable,” he said.
Matawalle clarified that the much-talked-about mining in Zamfara was not responsible for banditry as many were made to believe.
He said bandit activities in Shinkafi and also Zurmi local governments remained the hotbed; even when there are no mining activities in those areas.