Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has disclosed that there are almost 30,000 bandits in 100 camps in the state and five other neighboring states.
Speaking through the state Commissioner of Information, Mr. Ibrahim Dosara in Kaduna on Friday, said the neighboring states are Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and Katsina.
Between 2011 and 2019, bandits had wasted 2,619 people, kidnapped 1,190 others and collected over N970 million ransom from their victims’ families during the periods under review, Dosara disclosed.
Dosara, who said he was speaking for Matawalle, said the governor chose the path of peace with the bandits to stop the wanton killings of lives and property.
He said, “Before the coming of the present administration of His Excellency Dr. Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun on May 29th 2019 as the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Zamfara people were in fear, due to rural banditry, rampant killings, maiming, kidnapping, raping, vandalism and attacks became the order of the day.
“From available records, over 2,619 people were killed between 2011 and 2019. This is in addition to the 1,190 people kidnapped by the bandits. The records also show that the sum of N970m was paid as ransom. While 14,378 animals were rustled within the period and over 100,000 people were displaced from their ancestral homes.
“People were traumatised. Farmers were prevented from going to their farms to cultivate the usual food and cash crops for their daily needs. There was general food insecurity in the state in particular and the region in general. The economy of the state was devastated by the crisis.
“This is in addition to the proliferation of both light and heavy weapons, with a high influx of bandits from the neighbouring countries, with no solution in sight. The crisis defied all forms of solution.”
Matawalle stated that as a result of the ongoing peace dialogues, over 60 bandits had so far surrendered their arms while 2,000 kidnapped victims were released through the repentant bandits.