•As FG assures abducted students, others’ll soon reunite with families
By Kingsley Omonobi
The federal government said yesterday it didn’t mandate anyone to negotiate with bandits on its behalf.
Recall that the governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, had in a statement by his spokesman, Sulaiman Bala Idris, alleged on Monday that some federal agencies were secretly negotiating with bandits terrorising the state without his knowledge.
The statement had read: ”Governor Dauda Lawal wishes to call on the federal government to clarify and investigate the actions of some unscrupulous elements sabotaging the ongoing fight against banditry in Zamfara.
”The Zamfara State government has received reports of how some federal government delegation met with different bandit groups in Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Munhaye, Ajjah, Bawo and Bagega.
”We urge the federal government to take swifet action by terminating the ongoing negotiations with the bandits in Zamfara, as it undermines progress so far.”
But the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, and his minister of state counterpart, Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, debunked the governor’s claim/allegation.
”The said allegation is false and misleading as the ministry has not mandated any body or group to negotiate on behalf of federal government,” he said.
On the kidnap of Zamfara female varsity students by bandits last weekend, the ministers reassured the people of Zamfara and Nigerians of the progress being made for the quick return of the abducted female students and others of Federal University, Gusau.
The duo expressed confidence that the joint security task forces were working discreetly round the clock to get the students rescued.
While condemning the act, the senior minister, Badaru, said that federal government was doing everything possible to secure their release.
He extended his heartfelt sympathy to the parents, the academic community, and the entire citizenry of Zamfara State for the tragic abduction.
The minister also called on the nation’s dedicated security forces to intensify efforts and deploy every available resources to secure the safe return of the abducted students.
He said all hands must be on deck in securing the release of the abducted students.
“As part of President Bola Ahmed Tinibu’s eight point agenda of strengthening national security for peace and prosperity, I condemn and vow to secure the release of the abducted students,” Badaru said.
While also assuring the citizens of the state, the junior minister, Matawalle said air and ground components of the military had already been massively deployed within the state, as every measure would be taken to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.
He explained that President Tinubu had given marching order to the military and other security agencies to ensure the release of those abducted .
He said the order of the President had started yielding result, as 13 of the abducted students and three others regained their freedom on Monday 25, 2023, adding that the feat was achieved through the professional efforts of the military
Matawalle, however, condoled with families of the girls and others abducted, saying “I share in your pain and strongly condemn this reprehensible act carried out by suspected bandits.”
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