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Nigerian govt denies allegation it is negotiating with Zamfara bandits



The Nigerian government has debunked allegations by the Zamfara State governor, Dauda Lawal that the federal government was secretly negotiating with bandits without the involvement of the state government.

The denial was made by the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, while reacting to statements credited to Lawal alleging that the federal government was negotiating with the bandits to secure the release of abducted persons.

Lawal had, in a statement on Sunday, accused the FG of sidelining the state in negotiating for the release of abducted female students of the Zamfara State University who kidnapped by bandits from their hostel on Friday night.

But in a statement on Monday issued by the acting Director, Public Relations, Ministry of Defence (MOD), Attari Hope, Badaru dismissed Lawal’s claims, noting that the federal government was working round the clock to ensure that the students and other kidnapped victims were rescued and return home.

Read also: Zamfara govt accuses Nigerian govt of undermining fight against banditry in state

The Minister equally expressed confidence that the joint security task forces working round the clock would get the students rescued.

“The allegation is false and misleading as the Ministry has not mandated anybody or group to negotiate on behalf of Federal Government,” the Minister said.

He added that the marching order given to the military and other security agencies by President Bola Tinubu to ensure the release of those that were abducted in the state, the security agencies were working hard to rescue the kidnapped girls.

“The order of Mr. President has started yielding result as 13 of the abducted students and three others regained their freedom on Monday, September 25, 2023. This feat was achieved through the professional efforts of the military,” he said.

“I share in your pain and strongly condemn this reprehensible act carried out by suspected bandits. But I will assure that the federal government was doing everything possible to secure their release,” he added.

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