Stop criticizing Zamfara governor for negotiating with bandits – Lai Mohammed


Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said it is unfair to criticise Governor, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State for granting amnesty to repentant bandits.

The minister, who spoke on AIT’s ‘Kakaaki’ show, stressed that the Federal Government will not interfere in the way governors address security situations in their respective states.

He added that the nature of the problem differs between states and governors, being the head of security in their states, have the power to deploy the best solutions to tackle the issues.

The Ministers choice of words comes just as the Zamfara State governor, on Monday, granted amnesty to Auwalun Daudawa, a notorious bandit who led scores of his gang members to abduct over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, on December 11, 2020.

According to Lai Mohammed, there is nothing wrong with granting amnesty to criminals if the purpose was to restore desired peace in affected areas.

“When you are fighting insurgency, you use both kinetic and non-kinetic (means). Granting amnesty to notorious drug barons, notorious militants is not a new thing, it is not unique to Nigeria.

“You need to be in the shoes of the Zamfara State government or governor to appreciate what are the issues at stake (and) why he has done that. Don’t also forget that the state governors are their own chief security officers.

“When you are dealing with insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, you are interested in the bigger picture; how do we restore peace? If granting amnesty to one notorious kidnapper is going to give me peace in my state, I might take that decision.

“If granting amnesty to one repentant warlord would help me capture a thousand bandits, I might take that decision. Don’t just look at what is in the public place, understand the very high complexity of managing insurgency and banditry,” Mohammed said.

However, the minister said there were conditions attached to granting amnesty to criminals.

“The governor of a state understands the dynamics of the state and takes decision but it will be unfair of us to criticise the Zamfara governor without knowing what he did and I want to believe the governors work together with the security forces in their own state, so, it is not as we think,” he added.

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