The governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, has signed into law a death penalty on anybody found guilty of banditry, cattle rustling, cultism, or serving as a bandits’ informant.
He announced this in a broadcast to the people of the state on Tuesday morning.
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The broadcast was preceded by an expanded security council meeting that lasted for more than eight hours.
The governor said, “On the 28th of June this year, I passed the bill on Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences, 2022.
“The law provides a legal instrument for prosecuting banditry-related offenders.
“Based on the new law, anyone found guilty of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, cultism, or serving as a bandits’ informant is subject to the death penalty.
“Similarly, anyone found guilty of supporting in any manner the aforementioned offences faces a sentence of life in prison, 20 years in jail, or 10 years in prison, without the option of a fine.”
Matawalle stated that the measures were part of his administration’s unrelenting efforts to tackle the problem of banditry that had plagued the state and the neighbouring North West states for more than a decade.
He described the activities of informants as a major change towards addressing insecurity challenges in the state, expressing optimism that the situation would soon come to an end.
The governor directed the task force on security to embark on house-to-house search to flush out criminal elements in the 19 emirates of the state.
He said the measure was part of efforts to restore law and order and ensure peace in the state.
He urged the emirs who were part of council meetings to be vigilant and report suspicious persons or strange movements in their respective domains to security agents.
Matawalle also announced a restriction on motorcycle movement in the communities on the outskirts of Gusau from 9pm till dawn.
He ordered the security agencies to shoot at sight any motorcycle rider who violates the order and refuses to stop at security checking points within the affected areas.
He said there were reports of the use of motorcycles by bandits and other criminal elements to perpetrate their criminal activities within the state capital and its environs.
The governor also ordered hotel operators to scrutinise their guests by means of valid identification before accommodating them.
“Any hotelier found violating the new order will have his hotel shut down and face prosecution according to the law,” he warned.