20 March 2019

Nigeria: Zamfara Bandits Have More Weapons Than Security Agencies - Yari

Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State yesterday raised the alarm that armed bandits operating in the state possess more weapons than the security agencies in the state.

Daily Trust reports that, in the last five years, Zamfara has been facing the menace of armed banditry. Thousands of people have been killed, while kidnapping has become a daily affair in the state.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Yari said in one of the armories of the bandits, they saw over 500 AK-47.

The governor who is completing his second term on May 29, this year, ruled out the possibility of dialoguing with the bandits. He said trice, they have dialogued with the bandits without any success.

"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 doesn't have. In one armory alone, they have over 500 AK47, we saw it. Our people were even given the chance to take pictures," he said.

He, however, lamented that when amnesty was offered to the bandits, they refused to submit their weapons to the security.

"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 AK-47, so it is a deceit. That is why I said no more dialogue during my tenure," he said.

Yari who is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF), said during the dry season, the bandits advocate for dialogue and amnesty.

"During 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," he said.

Also speaking on banditry, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, advocated for regional collaboration between Nigeria and the Niger Republic to tackle the menace.

Masari, who spoke to journalists after a meeting with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the collaboration would assist in tackling the menace.

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