The Special Adviser to the Zamfara State Governor on Media and Communication in that interview monitored by Punch, he argued constructively on why amnesty should be given to bandits. It may interest you to know that JESUSEGUN ALAGBE who is Punch correspondent asked a series of questions about what is happening in the North. This came as bandits continues to attack and abduct innocent people in that region.
When Bappa was asked about the activities of the Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi who proposed amnesty for bandits operating in the North, he said, “Whoever is following the policies of the Zamfara State government knows that this is what we have stood for and still stand for.”
He pointed out that governor Bello Matawalle upon assumption of office in 2019, had initiated a peace dialogue with the bandits. He said that the governor believed that the military and police fight against the bandits would end the menace, but the attacks were just increasing.
As a matter of fact, Bappa has made a point that we must agree with his opinion. This is owing to the fact that there is no single day, you would not hear of people being killed or kidnapped by the bandits.
According to him “there was no single day between 2018 and early 2019 that you would not hear of either kidnapping or killing. But after initiating the peace deal, everyone following the news will know that the attacks have substantially reduced,” Bappa said.
He added that despite having many groups and camps, the state government was able to broker peace and some of them have surrendered their weapons and are now living with in towns. It was clear that over 300 weapons, including AK-47, have been surrendered by the bandits and 1000 abductees have been freed.
The governor's aide said that killing the bandits would not bring any solution to the recurring issue because they would always come back to attack the people. According to him, the way out of the issue is to sit down with them and find out what their grievances are.
Speaking further, Bappa made it clear that 95 per cent of these bandits are Fulani, and they have been stating their problems, and from their interaction with Gumi, they complained of injustice meted out to them as a justification for their continued attack on innocent people. They also complained of their cattle being rustled, they have been attacked and their families killed.
Some bandits said that they live with their cattle, they don’t go to school. Bappa maintained that what Gumi is doing is just reemphasizing the stance of the state government in regard to peace initiative (amnesty). This, he said is the best way to end this problem of banditry. He added that the governor believes in the carrot-and-stick approach.
See the full text of the interview below;
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