From Maiharaji Aline,Gusau
A Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Patriots for the Advancement Of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has thrown its weight behind Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawale, over his dialogue approach to tackle insecurity in the State.
Reacting to the present insecurity plaguing Zamfara State, the Executive Director of PAPSD, Dr. Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi in a press statement on Tuesday in Abuja hailed the Governor for his dialogue approach.
Shinkafi noted that alternative dispute resolution remained the most credible means to tackle agitations and insecurity, citing wxample with late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua who adopted the dialogue approach to resolve the youth restiveness in the Niger Delta which has brought about a permanent peace in the region.
He commended Governor Matawalle for taking the initiative to address the protracted issue of insecurity in his State adding that “The dialogue is one of the best methods to drastically reduce insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, and other violent crimes”.
He maintained that, as a resulr of Governor Matawalle’s peace initiative and alternative dispute resolution mechanism a lot of the notorious deadly armed bandits have embraced the amnesty offered to them by the Governor since he assumed office in 29th May 2021.
“The Governor should not be distracted by the opposition political parties led by the immediate past government of Abdulaziz Yari who has failed woefully in restoration of peace in Zamfara State”. Said Shinkafi.
According to him, the people of Zamfara State have witnessed peace, compared to the tenure of the immediate past Gov Yari.
Shinkafi stated that recently a notorious bandits commander, Auwalun Daudawa and five others surrendered 20 AK 47 rifles, RPG gun and other dangerous weapons and embraced the Zamfara dialogue and peace initiative.
“Auwalun Daudawa said he took the decision to drop arms and turn a good leave was due to the sincerity shown by governor Matawalle in curbing banditry and other crimes in the state”.
“The erstwhile bandits commander said he is dropping his old ways not because of fear but out of sincere commitment to support the peace initiative of governor Matawalle”.
“I have participated in many deadly battles (operations) but up till today that I am surrendering my weapons, I thank Allah that I never got even a wound” he said.
Daudawa swore by the Qur’an that he was no more interested in going back to the forest and requested to be allowed to stay in Gusau so as for him to be able to acquire education.
According to Daudawa, the dialogue with bandits which was introduced by Governor Matawalle has significantly reduced killings in the state.
Daudawa also thanked Dr Ahmed Muhmud Gummi the Islamic Scholar for visiting armed bandits camps in the state to preach to the bandits that armed banditry, kidnapping, killing of innocent people, rapes, armed robbery were against the teachings of Islam and traditions of the noble prophet Muhammad S.A.W and urged other clerics to take their messages to the forests.
He pointed out that the Governor initiated dialogue with bandits who were blamed for rampant violent crimes such as kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling and highway armed robbery in the state.
Although many Nigerians condemned the policy, saying it encourages criminality, the PAPSD Executive Director said many kidnapped victims have been released due to the dialogue and some of the bandits have laid down their arms.
Shinkafi charged the Governor to concentrate on providing basic infrastructural development and go on with the peace initiative noting that “good and peace loving people of the Zamfara State are solidly behind him irrespective of the political and religious appliation.
“We call on the Governor to fully support and fund the judicial commission of inquiry to do their job as prescribed in the term of reference given to them to discharge their duty with out any interference and anyone found wanting should face full weight of the law and justice no matter his status in the society”.
Shinkafi also advised the Governor to come up with programmes on how he will integrate all the repented bandits into the society like the Yar’adua administration did with the amnesty programme for the Niger Delta militants.
He further pointed out that peace Building does not happen in one day but it is a continuous thing as more stakeholders are involved in the process until everybody was brought on board to talk and express themselves in order to know and understand their agitations.
Shinkafi concluded that, “peace building being a long-term process demands persuasion of parties involved to embrace dialogue, rebuild the broken relationship, build mutual trust, strengthen relevant institutions that foster peace, give parties sense of belonging, agreements signed if necessary, and other things put in place before lasting peace could be achieved to end the violence”.