Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says dialogue remains the only option to end banditry in the country.
Matawalle said this while fielding questions from newsmen on Wednesday, February 10, in Yola.
The governor was in Adamawa on an official visit to witness the inauguration of Phase II rural roads projects and distribution of maintenance equipment held at Kuva-Gaya in Hong Local Government Area of the state.
According to Matawalle, the best and only option to douse tension and bring an end to banditry in Zamfara and beyond was to subscribe for dialogue.
“I have been always saying, the best solution and option to tackle banditry is to seek for dialogue with the bandits.
“If really we want to end this banditry activity, we have to sit on a round table and negotiate.
“Because through dialogue and reconciliation we are able to secure the release of many people who were under the captivity of kidnappers.
“So, the best way out for my colleagues, governors, is for them to subscribe for dialogue,” Matawalle said.
He maintained that the dialogue option was not meant to fight for those that refused to repent, but the government was using the carrot and stick approach.
He noted that some bandits that prepared for dialogue, government sit with them and listen to their grievances, if any.
“But those that refused to take the path of dialogue we fight them.
“Because, as a governor, my number one priority is to ensure peace and stability, and to ensure people are sleeping with two eyes closed,” Matawalle added.
This stance by Matawalle was at variance with the resolution of the Senate on Wednesday who frowned at state governors in the North-West negotiating with bandits, insisting that such negotiation is fuelling banditry in the country.
The lawmakers also called on the Federal Government to direct states on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which is aimed at establishing ranches and eliminating open grazing.
The senators made the submissions on Wednesday while debating a motion brought by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, on the growing insecurity in all parts of the country.
While calling for the operation of ranches as provided for in the NLTP, the Senate said the plan would prevent farmer-herder conflicts and activate highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.
The lawmakers further lamented the invasion of the country by armed herdsmen from foreign countries, urging the Federal Government to adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigerian Customs Service to police and monitor the borders.
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