The Federal Government of Nigeria has firmly denied allegations of engaging in negotiations with notorious bandits and terrorists who have been causing havoc in Zamfara State.
The allegations were brought to light by the Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal, who accused the federal government of pursuing talks with these criminal elements without his knowledge.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Sulaiman Idris, Governor Lawal called upon the federal government to clarify these allegations and initiate an investigation into the actions of individuals who are reportedly undermining the ongoing efforts to combat banditry in the state.
Reacting to these accusations, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, vehemently denied the claims. He urged Governor Lawal to acknowledge and appreciate the dedication of security agencies and federal government institutions involved in the operation to rescue the abducted students of the Federal University Gusau.
Minister Idris asserted that the governor had chosen to politicize a sensitive matter for personal gain.
In a statement released on Monday night by Suleiman Haruna, Deputy Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Minister Idris expressed his concern that the security situation in Zamfara State was being turned into a political issue.
The statement read, “The minister observes that federal government institutions are empowered by law to spring to action, with or without prompting, to ensure the safe return of citizens illegally taken hostage, like in the case of these hapless students. The fact that details of such delicate operations are not revealed by the institutions responsible does not make it in any way surreptitious, as the Zamfara State Government atrociously described this effort.”
Minister Idris further clarified, “For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the federal government is engaged in negotiations with any bandit or group of bandits. However, the government remains committed to exploring all available avenues that can lead to a de-escalation of tensions and the restoration of peace to communities ravaged by banditry.”
He added, “If communities decide to borrow a leaf from what has helped quench unrest in other parts of the country to engage themselves in dialogue, the federal government would not be in a haste to condemn such people-driven initiative.
Minister Idris reassured Nigerians that the federal government and its institutions are tirelessly working to improve the current security situation and put an end to the wave of banditry, kidnapping, and all forms of criminal activities.
He emphasized, “Political differences or personal fight with anybody should not be brought into the serious matter of national security to avoid demoralizing our troops or and derailing government’s effort.
In conclusion, the minister emphasized the federal government’s willingness to engage with stakeholders from across the country to seek lasting solutions to security challenges, urging all Nigerians to join hands in this endeavor.