GOVERNOR Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has come up with a new initiative to end the spate of armed banditry in the state involving pardoning 44 Fulani herdsmen currently imprisoned in Gusau the capital after being convicted of violent crimes.
In granting these convicted criminals an amnesty, Governor Matawalle said the pardon will be part of a wider peace programme aimed at ending the violence that has bedevilled the state for months. Zailani Bappa, the governor’s spokesman, said Governor Matawalle outlined his position when he received representatives of the Fulani community in Zamfara State.
During the visit, the governor lamented the fact that the Fulani are now termed as terrorists worse than Boko Haram. According to Mr Bappa, granting a pardon to them is part of an ongoing peace process in the state.
Governor Matawalle said: “I am one of you and I know you are not terrorists. What is happening today has a cause and we are determined to address it with your cooperation.”
He urged the Fulani delegation to disregard stories about the government’s alleged insincerity with the peace process in the state, saying northwest governors have all agreed to ban vigilante groups set up to check banditry in the region. According to the governor, the Zamfara State government is desperate to bring back peace.
“You can see now, you are here not only in Gusau, but in Government House. Nobody will arrest you or harm you as our aim is to have lasting peace in our dear state,” Governor Matawalle added.
Speaking on behalf of the Fulani community, Baba Bello said all known bandits will listen to the new sermon and surrender their weapons. He added that they would adhere to the new pact and ensure that Zamfara has lasting peace.