According to the ethics of journalism being practiced anywhere in the world, anybody practicing the profession must be; “sincere, honest, objective and reliable in his reportage.”
The opportunity for any journalist to have the freedom of getting information from anywhere and say whatever he feels, is because he is representing the common man who is not opportuned to be heard.
This is why the Constitution considered the press as It is fourth estate of the realm.
In Nigeria, some journalists have taken this golden opportunity to practice journalism as business in which they must make money at all costs.
In an editorial article by Desert Herald, with the caption: Banditry: How Gov Matawalle Fuels Zamfara’s Recent Killings, by one Maryam Musa, the author tried to dent the image of His Excellency, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun.
A cursory look at the article, shows that, rather than tarnishing the image of the Governor as it was intended, it ended up in exposing Sheik Gummi’s reconciliation visits to various states facing the challenge of armed banditry as damaging to the efforts by both the state’s governments and the security agencies in restoring lasting solution to the security challenges of their states.
Let me take the Desert Herald points one after the other.
1. “Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle assumed leadership of Zamfara State when insecurity and killings mainly by armed Fulani bandits was at its peak. It took him few months to convince the ravaged citizens of his state that though insecurity exists but the high rate of killings and kidnappings then were largely as a result of the mismanagement of the situation by the government of his predecessor, Hon. Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar.”
Thank you very much for recognising the fact that Governor Matawalle has changed the dirty security situation he met on ground within months. Something that the immediate past government couldn’t achieve in the eight years of it’s reign.
2. “Matawalle had then understood that even as the ceremonial chief security officer of his state he doesn’t have the powers to dictate the approach of solving the security imbroglio bedeviling his state as virtually all such powers of engaging the military and the police is with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“Matawalle also rightly understands that the military did not have the capacity and the needed intelligence to crush and eliminate the large number of armed bandits that are terrorizing his state. He realized after taking over as Governor that the population of the bandits is not only large but that their sophistication, particularly in possessing dangerous weapons, has been underrated by government.
“As such, the only painful option he adopted in securing the lives and properties of his people, which has significantly worked, is by reaching out to the Fulani bandits, pacifying those that are willing to lay down their arms and extracting commitment for peace and total ceasefire.
“These have hitherto been achieved by Mr. Matawalle with over 80 per cent success. Consequently, farmers were able not only to go back to their farms but to farm with ease and without the fear of attacks. Kidnappings and other acts of banditry have almost disappeared during that period on the major highways of the state and within routes that were hitherto overwhelmed by the notorious bandits.”
Excellent points, as they have vindicated the Govenor. These points by the Desert Herald have also demonstrated the Gov’s giant stride in protecting the lives and property of his people, despite the fact that he lacks the power of controlling the security apparatus.
All these were achieved without the import of either Sheik Gummi nor the Desert Herald, but the wisdom of the governor.
However, Desert Herald added, “As Zamfara citizens began to enjoy and celebrate the relative security and preservation of human lives through the commitment and initiative of Governor Matawalle and rightly without any additional financial support from the federal government that will supplement the huge security expenditure by the Zamfara State Government, the Governor probably out of frustrations or he was misled gradually began to violate a number of understanding he freely reached with the bandits in return for peace.
“It was as a result of such uncertainty and threats by the bandits to resume and escalate their campaign of terror that Governor Matawalle pleaded and invited Sheikh Gumi with his team to Zamfara to pacify the armed bandits and to once again broker another agreement that can guarantee permanent peace and full cessation of hostilities.”
Desert Herald should know that Bello Muhammed Matawalle can never be misled by anybody, as he swore to the Holy Quran to rule the state honestly and to the best of his ability. This was why he could not vow to the condition set for him by the Sheikh Gummi team, which surprises the Desert Herald.
Again, you said, “By inviting Sheikh Gumi and as he rightly stated during media briefing at the Gusau Government House, Governor Matawalle is fully convinced then that Sheikh Gumi enjoys the confidence and tremendous respect of the bandits. Before the Zamfara visit and as dangerous as it is, Sheikh Gumi had visited and interacted with many bandits in the forest of Kaduna State all in search for peace and to ensure a halt in all acts of banditry and kidnappings.
“It was the success Sheikh Gumi is achieving that prompted Mr. Matawalle to desperately seek for his intervention which the Sheikh graciously accepted.”
I challenged Desert Herald to prove to it’s readers any evidence that Gov Matawalle invited Sheikh Gummi for intervention. You have made mentioned that, His Excellency Gov Matawalle has initiated and implemented a peace process that yielded fruitful results, but you now saying the governor was desperate for Gummi’s intervention. After all, all the states visited by Sheikh Gummi and his team, have never saw peace, but rather escalating attacks, kidnapping, maiming and killings of innocent citizens, shortly after Gummi’s visits to those states.
Take for instance, following Sheikh Gummi’s visit to Kaduna, the armed banditry activities escalated to the worse. The visit of Sheikh Gummi to Niger, also worsens armed banditry activities in that state, to the extent that Boko Haram terrorists have now invaded the state.
But as a responsible leader, he is obliged to receive any person who visits his state for one public function or another, especially such an important personality from a highly dignified and reputable family of Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gummi of blessed memory.
“…And in addition they also agreed with the following suggestions that were recommended to them by the Saudi trained scholar in Islamic jurisprudence for onward transmission to government for action.
It should be noted that prior to the dangerous forest trips by Sheikh Gumi and his team across Zamfara State, Governor Matawalle has agreed and promised in principle to implement any genuine, reasonable and legitimate demands of the aggrieved Fulani bandits in exchange for peace. That is even the reason why Gumi accepted to go to Zamfara.
While in the forests of Zamfara and during several discussions with bandit’s commanders, Sheikh Gumi agreed on the following terms with the bandits and pleaded with them to give him one to two months to formalize with the Zamfara State Government for start of implementation which they agreed and assured him that during that period nothing will happen.
“Having initially gotten the mandate and go ahead of Governor Matawalle to open discussion with the armed Fulanis for lasting peace, Sheikh Gumi agreed with them on the following terms, which were later conveyed to the Governor by the Sheikh and his team:-
a) That government will arrange a rehabilitation program for them, convert them into forest rangers with monthly stipends while they will take full responsibility of guiding the entire forests. The agreement includes planting of trees to control desert encroachment and deforestation;
b) That to ease their work, Governor Matawalle will provide operational vehicles, motor cycles for them with allowances for fuel. Under that arrangement it was agreed that they will be provided with uniforms as means of identification and control;
c) That Fulanis should not be attacked by local vigilantes or any other person whenever they come to town for their legitimate businesses;
d) That government will provide teachers for them and their families to be teaching them especially about their religion (Islam) and that of western education;
e) That if they show total commitment, government will extend the program further by building hospitals, schools for them;
f) That provision of potable water for their consumption and that of the few animals should be prioritized immediately by the government;
g) Entrepreneurship training, financial support for farming, cattle rearing etc. for them;
h) That if they show total commitment within one year and without violating the peace treaty, Governor Matawalle will liaise with the federal government to see the possibility of employing some of them into the Nigeria Civil Defense and to create scholarship programmes for them to pursue education.
All the above were thoroughly discussed and presented to Governor Matawalle by Sheikh Gumi before his team proceeded to Sokoto for the same mission. DESERT HERALD was actively on the entourage throughout the peace mission which was widely reported by local and international media. The outcome of the above have not been discussed with the media and was not made public that time as agreed by both parties due to the sensitivity of the issue and to allow the Governor to decide immediate areas of implementation.”
This sounds very contradicting and unimaginable. Gov Matawalle had achieved greatly in tackling insecurity in his state, yet you are giving his government conditions he should met before the bandits could stop attacking, maiming and killing innocent citizens. This means that, Sheik Gummi and his team need to be investigated for the role they are playing in the name of reconciliation.
Besides, how can a responsible government allow itself to be tele-guided in handling security matters by none security experts?
Let me also add that Gov. Bello Matawalle is doing very well and is being appreciated by his people.
On the issue of RUGU, the general public can bear me witness as everything is put in the open, for anybody to see, feel and touch.