Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State seems the most unjustly spited public officer since the beginning of armed banditry-bred humanitarian crisis in the North West.
Two weeks ago, he intervened in the release of 344 students of the Kankara Government Science Secondary School in Katsina State abducted by armed bandits.
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The release of this large number of abductees, reportedly without any ransom paid, was celebrated worldwide.
The bandits reportedly whisked the boys to the bushes of neighbouring Zamfara State, thrusting on Governor Matawalle a very heavy burden of responsibility as a politician and public officer. It is gratifying that he delivered.
It can be recalled that Governor Matawalle took over a terror-tattered Zamfara State in dire need of strategies to combat it before it crushes the state and its economy.
He immediately came to grips with the stark reality that there is no better option to explore than the carrot-and-stick as suggested by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the former Presidents Umaru Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan on Boko Haram in the North East.
When the Kankara incident happened, Governor Matawalle, moved by a historic human and good-neighbourliness passion, deployed the required tact and strategy fashioned out of the carrot-and-stick option to negotiate the release of the boys. The boys were released to global applause.
For dispassionate assessors of Nigeria’s terror and humanitarian crisis situation, Governor Matawalle deserves an award in the class of the Nobel Peace Prize for this feat.
Alas! He was, instead, pelted by the Spokesperson of the APC, the party of which I am a member, with serious allegations of sponsoring and sustaining terror and banditry in the North West.
Governor Matawalle’s unprecedented and, thus, unanticipated, success in securing the release of the boys stampeded them into blindly, and most-unjustly, branding him an entrepreneur of terror-banditry.
This is a most politically-lethal weapon deployed against a governor achieving feats in the security and development of his state, amidst the raging terror-banditry.
To exonerate Bello Matawalle of any complicity in the Northwest’s terror-banditry, one has to dispassionately review the history of crime in Zamfara and the entire North West.
The armed banditry was ignited by a normal farmer-herdsman clash in 2011 from where it flared out and engulfed Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kaduna states.
It reportedly escalated during the administration of the former Governor Abdul-aziz Yari which, reportedly, suffered severe poverty of ideas and commitment in combating the worsening situation.
Governor Bello Matawalle, therefore, inherited a state gasping for breath under the massive weight of security challenge that required tact and strategies in accordance with its peculiarities.
This is what he is carefully deploying. This is why he is succeeding in the banditry war.
Saidu Idris Dibis Coach, Kaduna.