The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has come to the defence of the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, saying it is unfair to criticize him for granting amnesty to bandits that have been terrorizing the state.
Mohammed who appeared on an AIT programme, Kakaaki, on Wednesday, said Matawalle took the steps to bring peace to the state and that the Federal Government would not stop state governors from doing everything possible to address the security challenges in their states in any way they deem fit.
The Minister noted that governors, who are the security officers of their states, are at liberty to handle the security situations in their states in the best way possible they think they can tackle the issues.
Mohammed was reacting to Matawalle granting amnesty to some bandits in the state on Monday, including one Auwalu Daudawa, said to be the mastermind of the abduction of 344 students of the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara local government area of Katsina State in December 2020.
Mohammed insisted that there was “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,” Mohammed said.
“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.
“The governor of a state understands the dynamics of the state and takes decision but it will be unfair of us to criticise him (Matawalle) 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.”
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