Analysis: Governor Bello Matawalle’s Scorecard
By Ibrahim Bello Zauma
THE ONE YEAR GIANT STRIDES OF BARDEN HAUSA
Governor Bello Matawalle having come on board as the legitimate governor of Zamfara State met a very terrible security situation. Without any waste of time, he has since been confronting the menace with great valour using his versatile experience as former Chairman House Committee on Security and Intelligence for four good years. He started with hectic days of meetings with key stakeholders, different security outfits, from the National Police Headquarters, Abuja, meeting with the IG of police, meeting with the President Muhammad Buhari and the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, meeting with the Ex Minister of Defense, traditional leaders, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) leaders and CJTF and other key stakeholders. With every consultation, a fact stands out that the crisis has taken ethnic dimensions most especially after the creation of predominantly Hausa ‘Yan Sa-Kai vigilante groups by the former governor.
The vigilante groups only made the situation worse by taking laws into their hands through extra judicial killing of the Fulani in market places. This only aggravated the already volatile situations breeding more inter-tribal enmity.
Moreover, it is obvious that the rural areas and nomadic settlements have been relegated educationally and economically and this situation creates an avenue for high rate of crimes. This informs the government’s decision to provide schools, clinics and earth dams for them. This is how the idea of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) comes up as one of the solutions.
It is worth taking into cognizance that by the use of force through non-professional means only led to creation of many criminals of necessity in situations where innocent people were killed and their relatives join the bandit syndicate to engage in reprisal attacks against another settlements.
Thus, conflict resolution techniques which involves truce comes into effect with the government first ordering the ‘Yan Sa-Kai local militia to release Fulani captives in their hands and that actually paved way for negotiation which led to the release of many captives from the bandits.
The following is the chronology of the releases of abductees:
4/07/2019: The Zamfara State Government has secured the release of twenty five Fulani abductees through the diplomatic approach initiated by His Excellency Governor Bello Matawalle. The abductees who were held hostages since 9th April, 2019 in Dansadau Emirate of Maru local Government area of the state were mostly women and children.
5/7/2019-The Zamfara State Government has secured the release of fifteen more abductees through the government initiated truce by His Excellency Governor Bello Matawalle. The abductees released were 13 men and 2 aged women.
7/7/2019- The Zamfara State Government initiated truce has again led to the release of eleven more people abducted more than eight weeks ago. His Excellency Governor Bello Matawalle MON received the released persons which include five men, three women and three children who were released from bandits captivity from Maradun, Kaura Namoda and Shinkafi local Government areas.
9/7/2019- The Zamfara State governor, His Excellency (Dr) Bello Matawalle has today received eight more people freed by bandits following the peace deal initiated by the state government. The freed persons who hailed from Mai-Awaki village of Dan Sadau, Maru Local Government area were three female and six five males held captives for four months.
12/07/2019- His Excellency Governor Bello Matawalle officially handed over the Seven freed abductees from Sokoto State to the Commissioner of Career and Security Matters, Sokoto State. They regained their freedom through the peace treaty initiated by Zamfara State Government.
17/07/2019- The Zamfara state executive Governor, Hon. (Dr) Bello Matawalle has again received 4 more captives from the state Commissioner of Police, CP Usman Nagoggo who were released unconditionally by the bandits.The four captives released by the bandits all men were abducted from Mutunji and Magama villages under Dansadau Emirate Council of Maru local government area 38 days ago.
26/07/2019-Matawalle Secures Release of Ten Foreign Nationals
31/07/2019 -The Korean National, Dr Jongson Eel who was abducted 7 months in Zamfara State, was released unconditionally to His Excellency the Executive Governor, (Dr) Bello Muhammad (Matawallen Maradun) as part of the peace process taking place in the state.
3/10/2019-No fewer than ten rescued victims of human trafficking from Zamfara were handed over to the state government today at the Government House. The rescued victims were received by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Bala Bello Maru representing His Excellency Governor Bello Matawalle.
25/04/2020 -Five kidnapped victims were also rescued from Gidan Jaja axis and reunited with their families.
24/03/2020-No fewer than 14 victims of kidnapping regained their freedom from bandits including the District Head of Wuya Alhaji Umaru Usman following efforts made by His Excellency Governor Bello Muhammad (Matawallen Maradun) to secure their release. The freed captives all hail from villages in Anka Local Government Area, ten of them from Yar Tasha, three from Wuya and one from Ruwan Zabo.
These releases and several others not captured here for time constraints cumulatively totalled about 800 rescued kidnapped victims. With relative peace attained in many volatile areas, more than 25,000 displaced persons returned to their settlements.
DISARMAMENT OF BANDITS
1. Weapons surrendered by bandits who embraced peace. One Military LMG (Light Machine Gun), two MM guns, one Ak47 and ten rounds of 7.62mm of live ammunition.
2. Another cache of arms recovered which comprises of 240 assorted weapons both locally made and sophisticated ones.
3. More arms recovered through the peace accord:
1. AK-47 rifle with breech No. 701883/1988 with 4 rounds of live ammunition
2.AK-47 rifle with breech No. 56/1210035/00
3.AK-47 rifle with breech No. 0701421
4. Light machine gun (LMG) rifle breech number erased
5.AK-47 rifle with breech No.35372
6. FN rifle breech No. 167119
7. FN rifle with breech No.212108
8. Ten (10) rounds of live ammunition
9. AK-47 rifle with breech No.1141 with empty magazine
10. AK-47 rifle with breech No.1975 with empty magazine”
Procurement of vehicles for operations and other logistics.
RURAL GRAZING AREA (RUGA) PROJECT
The issue of RUGA, which was hotly debated across the vast spectrum of the federation, when the President Muhammadu Buhari made mention of his intention to establish grazing settlement for herders. However, Zamfara State Government sees in it a potential way of resolving communal conflicts between farmers and herders which culminated into banditry and cattle rustling. Thus, it is unanimously accepted in order to regain the lost glory of peace when farmers and herders in the state were living side by side, peacefully, reinforcing each other because land ownership and pastural fields were strictly earmarked and not encroached. With the disturbance of the system, communal conflicts characterised by banditry and rustling replaced the once serene and stable environment.
As part of his relentless effort to institute peace in Zamfara His Excellency the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, (Dr) Bello Muhammed (Matawallen Maradun) had on August 2019 received RUGA architectural 3D designs from a team of architects he had earlier mobilized. He ordered for the immediate commencement of the gigantic project which comprised of 3 RUGA settlements, 1 for each of the 3 senatorial zones on 100 hectares of land each.
The gigantic project comprises of two phases of highly sophisticated structures, The settlements will include, among other things, formal and Islamiyya schools, hospitals, earth dams, veterinary hospitals and many other social amenities that will make the Fulani community and their herds of cattle relatively comfortable.
Part of the project entails:
* Integrated settlements* Schools (Secular and Religious (12 Classrooms)* Veterinary Clinic* Earth Dam* Cattle Cottage* Grazing yard* Abbatoir* Mosque* Cemetaries* Overhead tank
Second Phase* Irrigation system* Milk Collection Centre* Assorted Seeds of animal feed * Traditional community/Social Arena.
Today, the pilot project in Maradun has reached 80% completion.
1. Governor Bello Matawalle approved the promotion of 6709 primary school teachers who have 5 to 7 years unsettled backlogs of promotion and these have settled in September 2019.
2. Governor Bello Matawalle awarded contracts for the construction of 613 primary school classrooms across the state and the renovation of 342 others and equiping them with 14810 desks and chairs, 962 desks for staff and modern ICT centers. The sum of 4.5 billion has been earmarked for the project.
3. Procurement of 2000 mattresses for GGUSS Kotorkoshi and fencing and renovation of the school.
4. Governor Bello Matawalle reinstates 556 teachers employed and dumped by the previous administration.
5. Complementing Governor Bello Matawalle’s effort in education, the First Lady sponsored the scholarship of 41 orphans.
6. Bello Matawalle visited TETFund, and secured One Billion Naira Intervention for Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara and Enlistment of ZAMSU.
7. Sponsoring foreign Scholarship for 200 students for undergraduate studies in Engineering, Medical Courses etc in India, Cyprus, Sudan etc.
8. Kick-started UBE pilot scheme for the construction of International Standard Primary School in Maradun.
1. Procurement of 17 Ambulances distributed to Gen Hospitals in the state.
2. Procurement of rural Tricycle Ambulances
3. Renovation of Kagara hospital
4. Award of contract for the completion of Shinkafi Orthopedic Hospital
5. Procurement of ventilators, test kits, patient monitors and other live-saving gadgets for Covid19 and zero contact booth testing equipments.
6. Construction of Damba Infectious Disease Hospital
7. Award of contracts for the construction of 147 primary health centres in each wards and procurement of beds for all the facilities.
8. Revived a contract for the completion of Shinkafi Orthopedic Hospital at a new agreed cost of 2.7bn Naira.
9. Governor Bello Matawalle empowered the Zamfara State Drugs and Medical Consumables Management Agency with necessary inputs to produce drugs.
INVESTMENT VENTURES OF GOVERNOR BELLO MATAWALLE
Having created a viable environment for investment by ensuring security and the general safety of investors, employing open-door approach by Governor Bello Matawalle, many countries and NGOs now acknowledge the regained peace, serenity in Zamfara State and the efficient leadership and offer to contribute in developing entrepreneurial skills for youth employment and investment in Zamfara.
Governor Bello Matawalle has been showcasing Zamfara’s Investment potentials in the global horizon from the US during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74) to Russia-Africa Economic Summit and his tour to China from 23rd-24th December 2019.
During the series of the UNGA74 in September 2019 side events, Governor Matawalle had a meeting with business moguls and delivered a paper at African Investment Summit titled, “The Investment Climate and the Market of Zamfara State: The Opportunities for International Investment Partnership”, the paper which highlights Zamfara’s investment potentials in mining, agriculture and industrialization.
During the Russia-Africa Economic Summit in Sochi which took place from October 23rd-25th 2019, Governor Bello Matawalle who was part of the presidential entourage had several bilateral meetings with investors in Sochi, Russia in his relentless bid to engage them in mutually beneficial investment in solid minerals, agriculture, health and industries in Zamfara State.
In Beijing China, he wooed Chinese investors for a win-win partnership in solid minerals sector of the state. Addressing business moguls during the “China Congress on Mineral Resources And Material Whole Industry Chain Summit” held in Beijing in December 2019 Governor Matawalle told the prospective investors of the special opportunities awaiting them in the solid mineral sector of the state, pointing out that 50% of the 34 minerals listed on Nigerian soil are found in Zamfara State some of which are gold, zinc, columbine, silver, gypsum, limestone, copper, tantalite and barite among others. All these minerals, he said, have mining fields scattered across the state without sophistication and the technological standard to give maximum benefit. He lamented, for instance how in the last 100 years, the gold mined in the state did not exceed 91,000kg. The governor vowed to provide added incentives for the prospective investors in addition to the excellent provision of protection laws by the Nigerian state.
Back in the state, Governor Matawalle lays foundation for the construction of 9 billion Naira 3-Star Hotel under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between Zamfara state government and Finesse and Esthetics Nigerian Limited. Delivering his inaugural speech, Matawalle said:
“I promise to create enabling environment for foreign and indigenous investors in the state which will in turn open more employment opportunities of various categories to our people.
This joint venture will create about 3,000 jobs in the state while the hotel itself will provide a serene environment to our investors so that they can be comfortably accommodated whenever they are in the state.
“Similarly, the state is also missing many Federal and International conferences, workshops, retreats and a host of many engagements which require luxurious accommodations.
The 100 Keys Paradise Hotel which will meet international standards will be managed by Amber Hospitality Services Limited while the project is expected to be completed in 30 months.”
To explore investment opportunities in tourism Zamfara State government in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), agreed to develop, market and promote the Kwatarkwashi rock which has high potentials to boost local investment in the region, creating employment for the immediate local economy through tourism.
In October 2019 Zamfara state government signs an MoU with African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank ), Secures 1 Billion US Dollar Investment Input to facilitate trade and industry through revival of cotton production, animal husbandry, beef processing company and exploring opportunities in minerals and water resources.
Governor Bello Matawalle is giving Gusau metropolis a new face proving beyond any doubt that he is composed, focused and not distracted by the political refractions. Even with a lean purse depleted to emptiness by the previous administration, he struggles to keep head above water. A cursory look at the following projects speaks volumes:
1. Completion of Canteen Daji Area road rehabilitation.
2. Construction of Kwanar Inno Doya Sabon Gari Road via Sarkin Tasha Mosque, Sardauna Bread linking up to Late Ladan Mada House….
3 Construction of road from Old motor park near Auwal Bread beside railway linking up to CIS linking up to Government House road opposite Jifatu Supermarket.
4. Construction of a suburban close along Kantin Sauki line via the house of Liman Dan Alhaji Sambo, linking up to Emir’s Palace Mosque. Kanwuri Gusau.
5. T/wada Sabuwar Hanya construction of road down to Tsamiya Masaka linking up to Koramar Boko House also linking up to Sunny Fast Food.
Moreover, Governor Bello Matawalle’s Rural Transformation Scheme is the reincarnation of Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI) of 1986 as other projects are in progress in many rural areas among which are:
8. Ruwan Doruwa
1. Under ZSIP empowerment programme 6600 youth were recruited and their stipends are being paid monthly.
2. Women Empowerment. Six month into the programme, 14,420 women benefitted and another 25,000 women received COVID19 palliative and Ramadan package from Her Excellency Aisha Bello Matawalle.
These and many more remarkable achievements have been realised in one year. Alhamdulillah! Congratulations Barden Hausa (Dr) Bello Muhammad (Matawallen Maradun). May Allah continue to guide and protect him for more prosperous years ahead.
Ibrahim Bello Zauma
SSA New Media