Zamfara Hilux: Matawalle denies dolling out vehicles to bandits

The Governor of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, denied dolling out Hilux vehicles to bandits in the state.

This is in response to a former Chairman of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abubakar Maradun, who made an allegation against the Governor, saying he supplied Hilux vehicles to bandits which they used to attack innocent residents.

He said the bandits used two of the vehicles in an attack on Janbako community which led to the death of ten people.

Zamfara govt accused of donating Hilux vans to bandits
Zamfara Hilux: Matawalle denies dolling out vehicles to bandits

Maradun said, “They went to that village in two of the Hilux vehicles given to them by the Zamfara State Government. One of the vehicles broke down and was abandoned by the bandits.

“These bandits have been using the vehicles to kidnap, kill and rape innocent people and the press has been silent,” he added.

Reacting to the allegation, the Special Adviser to Governor Bello Matawalle on Media and Publicity, Alhaji Zailani Baffa, described it as wicked.

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He, however, admitted that the Governor did donate vehicles but to all the security agencies in the state.

He said, “These vehicles were duly distributed to all security agencies in the state under the supervision of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police.

“The beneficiaries included the military, the police, the customs and excise, the immigration services, the NDLEA, the NSCDC, the FRSC, among others.”

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His words were corroborated by the Governor while reacting to the allegation via his official Twitter handle.

“The said vehicles, 200 of them were donated to security agencies in the state to boost their morale in tackling insurgency,” Matawalle tweeted.

He described the allegation as “a display of quackery and sheer mischief targeted at disabusing the minds of law-abiding and patriotic citizens of the state.”

In the same vein, the Zamfara State Government on Tuesday threatened to sue SaharaReporters over a publication exposing gifts given to repentant bandits by Governor Bello Matawalle.

The government made the threat in a statement signed by Nura Ibrahim Zarumi, the state Commissioner for Justice.

Zarumi claimed that the publication had caused disgrace to the government but however refused to deny its authenticity.

SaharaReporters had exposed how about 15 brand new Hilux vehicles were given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ banditry groups by Governor Matawalle.

Accroding to SR, the governor also approved millions of naira to be given to the ‘repentant’ bandits as compensation.

A top military officer told SaharaReporters that the bandits now carry out attacks with some of the vehicles given to them by Matawalle.

The officer said, “Those bandits have different groups, so if they say they have repented, the governor will give them a Hilux vehicle but unfortunately they are now using the vehicles to carry out attacks.

“On Sunday, they attacked Jankara but were resisted by the local vigilantes, so they fled and left one of those Hilux vehicles and the motorcycles they came with behind.

“It’s so sad, he called it peace and reconciliation programme, but all you need to be rich now in Zamfara is to take up arms against the people.”

But Zarumi in his statement demanded from SaharaReporters “an unequivocal retraction with an apology carried with the same prominence” on its platform and three national dailies.

He said, “You are to also enter into negotiation for damage with the state government. It amounts to a suspicious gamble if you treat this letter with levity but if you decide to do, the gamble is clearly yours.

“It is our mandate to intimate you of this grievous breach on the image and hard-earned reputation of the state with patent collateral damage on its people.

“Our state finds it rather strange that instead of military and other security personnel in the state to appreciate the governor toward building an efficient and reasonable peace in the state by providing the security agents with adequate vehicle to ease their national assignment, including military in the state, your organisation chose to maliciously denigrate the governor by denting his image and that of his government.

“The whole scenario becomes bewildering after reading your publication and the description of the state is totally out of place and libellous.

“Having regard to your previous publications against the state government, our state has come to the conclusion that your publication is both malicious and libellous.”

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