Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, says the political elite sabotaged the amnesty programme launched for bandits in his state.
The governor spoke during the Urgent Conversations programme of RadioNow on Friday.
Mattawale was one of the governors calling for a dialogue and reconciliation approach to solving the banditry problem besetting Nigeria’s north-west.
In August, the governor claimed that the tactic had “yielded a lot of results” in Zamfara.
Matawalle, however, changed his stance in September, announcing that his administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits because “they have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them”.
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Explaining the cause of the change in strategy, the governor blamed politicians “that have connections with the criminals” who were “telling them all sorts of things so that they shouldn’t believe the government’s amnesty and reconciliation”.
Mattawale said security agencies have confessions from “2000 informants” who have indicted several politicians.
“After we initiated the dialogue, you know it was supposed to be a collective effort — between the government, the people of the state and other political gladiators. Unfortunately, when the government is trying to make sure we have peace, some political elites are thinking they don’t want us to succeed,” the governor said.
“So they’ve been making so many unprecedented comments about the dialogue issues and the reconciliation. And some of them that have connections with the criminals have been telling them all sorts of things so that they shouldn’t believe the government’s amnesty and reconciliation.
“We have some records. Some of the informants that were arrested, we have over 2000 informants under the custody of security agencies, and some of them have opened up and indicted so many people. They said some of the politicians are the ones funding them, telling them the state and federal government are not serious on what we promise to them.”