Bandits collected N3bn ransom in Zamfara, says committee
The committee set up by Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle to find solutions to banditry in the state has disclosed that over N3billion was collected by bandits as ransom from relations of abducted victims.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), who made the disclosure while presenting the committee’s report to the governor, yesterday, in Gusau, the state capital, said the report covered the period from June 2011 to May 29, this year, adding that the money was collected from 3,672 victims whose relatives paid to secure their freedom.
Abubakar said a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned and 190,340 persons displaced by banditry over the period in the state.
He also said innocent Fulani herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers, while 147,800 vehicles, motorcycles and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.
The former IGP said to achieve sustained peace, the state government should take over all farmlands situated on grazing routes and adopt modern livestock farming to encourage herders to remain in one place, saying the committee had recommended unconditional disarmament and setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry, backed by law, to address all forms of banditry in the future.
He said that the committee also advised government to partner neighbouring state governments to rehabilitate all inter-state roads to ease movement of security personnel and the general public.
In addition, he said the state government must give priority to education and ensure that all children, including those of nomads, attend school.
Receiving the report, Matawalle promised to implement the recommendations, assuring that he would not be diverted by any sentiment.
“I would like to make it clear that personal relationship, sectional, geographical, religious and ethnic interests will have no role to play in the decision l will take with regard to recommendations of the committee, especially those that relate to the recommended sanctions and disciplinary measures,” he assured.
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