Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawella, has expressed delight in what he described as successful negotiation with bandits.
This is coming as no fewer than 300 persons kidnapped by armed bandits in the state regained freedom with no ransom paid.
According to him, for the first time in four weeks, there had been no report of any incident like kidnapping and killing of citizens following the negotiations between the government and bandits.
The governor stated this during the signing of about $1 billion Memorandum of Understanding with the President and Chairman, Board of Directors of Egypt-based African Export-Import Bank, Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, in Abuja on Saturday.
The $1 billion, Afrexim Bank said, was for investments in Agriculture, Power, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing.
Oramah said there was no reason why Zamfara State should not be able to produce cotton as Burkina Fasso, Mali, or Republic of Benin which is presently the largest producer of cotton in Africa.
Matawalle said, “Our administration is committed to giving a full secured state and we have started that by engaging the bandits in peace, for which they have accepted to lay down their arms.
“As at today, Mr. President, we have secured the release of over 300 people that are under captivity. The securing of the release of these people was done without any commitment; no single kobo or ransom was paid to the bandits.
“We started this discussion just about two weeks ago when we met with some Afrexim Bank people in Dubai with the Managing Director of Heritage Bank for which he promised to deliver our message to the bank. Within that week, he contacted the Afrexim Bank and the Presisent decided to come to Nigeria.
“Zamfara State, as you are all aware, had so many issues before my emergence as the governor, for which reason and to limited time, just (within) a month, God helped us to tackle some of these issues.
“Today, we can call Zamfara State as a peaceful state in Nigeria. For your information, for the first time in four weeks, there has been no report of any incident like kidnapping or killing of citizens.”
“So we assure you that Zamfara State is safe for investors, they can come to the state. They can come to the state and the government is committed to making sure that everything is put in place to guarantee their security.”
He thanked the Afrexim Bank President for the investment of about $1 billion which can cover manufacturing, power, infrastructure, mining and Agriculture.
The governor assured that the money would be utilised in order to move Zamfara State forward.
Earlier, Oramah expressed pleasure with Zamfara State government for its clear vision “to unlock these opportunities.”
He said, “They have identified clearly the strengths of their state, the opportunities and what they need to unlock these opportunities. They have decided to take their own destiny in their hands, which is actually the foundation of the federal structure that we operate in Nigeria.
“Specifically, it said states should do all they can to maximise the use of the resources they have for the benefit of their people, so that collectively, we can grow the economy of Nigeria to become more that it is today.
“So we are proud to be in a very serious discussion with Zamfara State in various areas. We have discussed partnership covering solid minerals where Zamfara State has significant strength. We are looking foreword to working with Zamfara State and our partners to further tap the resources and monetise them as quickly as possible.”
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