UPDATE ON ACHIEVEMENTS RECORDED BY THE COMMAND IN THE ONGOING PEACE AND RECONCILIATION INITIATIVE OF THE STATE
Gentlemen of the press, on behalf of officers and men of Zamfara State Police Command, I welcome you to another press conference here in the police Command Headquarters Gusau.
First and foremost, I most thank the Inspector-General of Police IGP Muhammad A. Adamu NPM mni, for giving the command all the necessary logistical support and encouragement to restore lasting peace and stability in Zamfara State.
Secondly, I most also appreciate the Governor of Zamfara State His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bello Matawallen Maradun for his doggedness and uncompromising attitude towards employing dialogue as a weapon to bring lasting peace to the state.
Since the last press conference, precisely on 8th of this month, a lot of progress have been achieved. On 15/7/2019, the dialogue in the Emirates of Zamfara State was kick started in Anka Emirate. In that interaction between two sworn enemies, local militia and bandits a lot of issues that led to the present quagmire were manifested. What is incontrabatible was the fact that, the most notorious bandits and the most heartless militia groups reached an amicable settlement of their aged long rivalry of senseless killings, deprivation of farming activities and caging of all markets activities. There is no doubt these helped in no small measure in restoring economic activities in the whole of Anka Emirate. Evidently, the markets in this area that were all a long locked were reopened and business activities resumed to the fullest.
The achievement recorded in Anka no doubt paved the way to shift to another Emirate i.e Birnin Magaji. This area is known to be no go area for Fulanis and all their kinsmen. In fact, the present crisis in Birnin Magaji Emirate resurfaced after the killing of seven (7) Fulanis in the premises of the Emirate council. This no doubt triggered violent reactions from the bandits. The situation shifted from cattle rustling to burning of villages, food stuffs, maiming and killing of old men, women and children. It also led to deprivation of Farmers cultivating their farmlands. In this city of Birnin Magaji, both militia groups and bandits including their Ardos were brought together under common umbrella. There were exchange of greetings and pleasantries. In fact, the gathering has shown us that these people grew up together in their early childhood, adulthood and old age. What we saw was reminiscences of countries that were devastated by civil war but reunited by truce and reconciliation.
We are not surprised with all this, if the progress achieved in releasing captives since the last briefing is anything to go by, we have achieved tremendous progress in integrating these victims to their families. The number of people rescued in the last six days stood as thirty three (33) victims. This shows us that the ongoing dialogue and reconciliation in the state is working. It will be naive for us to say that attacks have stopped by 100 percent in Zamfara State, but judging from the fact that banditry in the state has been going on for over ten years, in a space of three weeks the attacks were reduced to the the bearest minimum. We are not living in the world of mirage to assume that, we can stop the issue of banditry and militia activities within the space of the little time.
However, it is also generally agreed that most conflicts are won and lost through dialogue. In Zamfara State, what security agencies actions could not be tamed through the use of force is now being achieved through dialogue and peace reconciliation. I cannot remember any kidnapped victim saved through force. But through persuasion and dialogue, over 200 victims of kidnapping were rescued from the bandits and other militia groups. It will be disservice to Zamfara State in particular and Nigeria in general if for a perceived political expediency, politics is brought into the conflict of Zamfara state.
Let me use this medium to reiterate that, the ongoing dialogue and reconciliation in the state would not be distracted from doing its assignment and to see to it’s conclusion. I called on the good people of Zamfara state to rally round the security agencies to achieve the lasting peace in the state.
Further more, the reconciliation team has already lined up series of activities in the remaining Emirates to bring lasting peace to all the Emirate councils.
For the avoidance of doubt and clarity, between Saturday 20th – Sunday 21th of this month, a total number of 23 kidnapped victims were rescued and being treated at the government house medical facilities. The rescued victims will soon be reunited with their families in an elaborate ceremony by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Zamfara State Dr. Muhammad Bello Matawalle Maradun.
Finally, I urge the press to continue reporting the facts as they see it on the ground and not to be cowed into sensetional Journalism. Thank you all.
CP USMAN NAGOGO psc+,
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,
ZAMFARA STATE COMMAND,