For close to a decade, the Northwestern State of Zamfara was enmeshed in an avoidable orgy of violence, where armed bandits, kidnappers and criminal gangs held sway. It was so patent that the immediate past government of erstwhile governor Yari was overwhelmed and could not adopt the requisite measure to rein-in the brigands.
On assumption of duty on May 29, 2019, the newly sworn in governor, Alhaji Bello Muhammed Metawalle was visited by a plethora of heinous atrocities in the state. The new Zamfara helmsman did not cave in to the antics of the criminals.
His first appointment was a Special Adviser on Security Issues in the person of Abubakar Daura, who retired as a Senior Police Officer. He went further by appointing a former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Gusau as Chairman of one of the Security Committees while the other committee was under the purview of the state Commissioner for Police.
The Governor opined that bringing these men on board would help sanitize the governance space to allow peace and security to bear on the state. Indeed, it paid off as a semblance of tranquility surfaced. Metawalle began purging the tension soaked state by launching an investigation into the activities of some traditional leaders.
When he took office, he was inundated with a barrage of complains from scores of citizens, who had accused the leaders of involvement in the banditry that was consuming the state. He quickly dethroned the Emir of Maru and the district head for their complicity in security lapses.
Dubbed the “Security Messiah of Zamfara State”, Governor Metawalle warned that any emirate where terror attitudes of notorious kidnapping were recorded, the emir and district head would be removed and possibly prosecuted.
The Zamfara boss designed a peace package which adopted the carrot and stick approach. It encouraged scores of militants to embrace peace, while dropping their arms. For those who were at variance with the peace process, the government engaged them in a tight battle which forced most of them out of the state.
Governor Metawalle immediately embarked on the construction of schools, hospitals and grazing ground for the Fulani herders, which made them surrender their arms. He boasted within his 1st 100 days that he had ended banditry in 59 days.
“When I was sworn-in, I promised to make sure that insecurity become history. I am now happy to face the people of Zamfara State, Nigeria and the international community that I have been able to quell insecurity in 59 days”.
The Governor while keeping the peace in the state shifted his focus to the provision of social amenities and delivery of important infrastructure. “We have provided potable water in Gusau and environs and we will extend this to all the 14 local governments in the state”. He has constructed township roads in the state capital provided state of the art equipment for the state radio and television stations.
The state governor awarded a contract for the rehabilitation and construction of primary schools. He procured ambulance vehicles for all the general hospitals in the state. Prior to his ascendency, there was no ambulance in any of the state hospitals.
Governor Bello Metawalle continues to wax strong in his pursuit of creating a new lease of life for his people, who have been browbeaten by instability.
In recognition of his invaluable service to his state and Nigeria by extension, the organizers of the Classic Africa Merit Award have unanimously decided to celebrate this great son of Nigeria during the 10th edition of the award slated for November 8, 2020 at the prestigious Sheraton Hotel, Lagos State.