By Yusuf Idris Gusau
Julius Caesar, the great Roman emperor, who fell by the daggers of his closest friends and allies, said “No one is so brave that he is not disturbed by something unexpected”.
If he had premonition of danger coming his way, and did very little to avert it until Brutus and his co-conspirators ended his life, Caesar could have been said to be naive.
Dr. Mohammed Bello Matawalle the executive governor of Zamfara State, unlike Caesar, is not taking any chances; he is checkmating saboteurs bent on derailing the hard earned peace that has been restored in the state.
He told the gathering at the 100 Days of his administration that information at his disposal reveals that elements within the civil, political and security services were not comfortable with return of peace to the state in short a period of time.
His government he assured is not resting on its laurels but have set machinery in motion to identify those trying to create problems and put a dent to efforts at consolidation of peace.
Measures, he assured, will be taken to address any foreseen omnious challenges.
He maintained that his administration would not be distracted nor deterred by individuals or groups from pursuing the good things of life for its people and will remain focused in its effort to attain its set objectives.
The Barden Hausa reaffirmed that the state government will continue to strengthen and work through the guidance of the Shariah legal system while providing basic social amenities and employment opportunities in order to fight poverty and social vices.
Reviewing procession by the repentant bandits, disbanded vigilante groups, freed captives
and pardoned prisoners who presented themselves before the general public to demonstrate their commitment and surrender and embrace lasting peace and tranquility, the governor said the message of “this durbar assembly and procession also symbolizes unity, abiding faith, spirit of brotherhood among our people, irrespective of their social and cultural backgrounds”.
“At this point” , he added,” the durbar procession has provided a veritable platform to further consolidate the gains of our dialogue and reconciliation” which “my administration will continue to explore all practical ways and platforms to promote socio-cultural harmony
and restore the past glory of Zamfara people”.
As there is no easy path to peace, he noted, extinguishing flames of conflict and
building peace has always been one of the daunting tasks of humanity especially after almost a decade of gory scenes of murders, kidnappings and a wave of other crimes, “our state has finally heaved a sigh of relief”.
The former bandits have not only embraced peace in totality but have become its vanguard and committed to sustaining the new clime and temperament all over the state.
Of course Matawalle knows peace itself is only a means to an end. This end can only be realized if a wholistic approach and decisive steps are taken towards a comprehensive transformation of the socio-economic life of the people
of the state. One way of figuring this out is through making the economy central to building a peaceful and prosperous society.
The necessary steps must include drastic reduction of poverty by bringing relief to the people both in the rural and urban areas.
To this end, he announced the disbursement of cash grants to famers and women associations under IFAD Community Development Programme.
The grants are aimed at supporting rural communities to achieve food security. In the same vein, under the Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), the sum
N57,000,000 was distributed to eight groups of people drawn from four Local Government Areas of Tsafe, Bungudu, Maradun and Talata Mafara. Another sum of N100,000,000 to CSDP as part of the state counterpart funding to enable other communities to benefit.
Under the Fadama III Graduate Unemployed Youth Programme, a total of 229 unemployed youths have been supported with the total sum of N81,365, 000.
Each beneficiary benefited from a minimum of N360,000 as support to embark on various small-scale businesses such as rice and maize farming, fish farming, livestock breeding and poultry production. This is in addition to Zamfara Social Investment Programme in which 3,400 youths selected from across the 14 Local Government will be given N10,000 each monthly.
The overall objective of these government interventions is to drastically reduce poverty among the people and build a more prosperous Zamfara State. Equally provided is the sum of N1.5 billion for settlement of
counterpart funding to enable the state derive benefits from the programmes of various development partners.
For Bello Matawalle his mission in governance is to promote the social and economic wellbeing of the people.
Considering the near collapse of the traditional social support system, which is provided by the family and community, government has decided to take the responsibility of providing full support to divorcees and widows who are desirous of remarrying. The first phase of the programme would be launched with 100 widows and
Similarly, government has procured 300 tricycles for distribution to the disabled across the State.
In the same vein, 1000 bicycles have been procured for distribution to students to aid their transport to schools.
In the area of education, arrangements have been concluded to sponsor 200 indigenes of the state to China, Cyprus and Sudan to study medicine and engineering. In addition, he revealed “I recently held talks with the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria where it was agreed, among other issues, that the Russian Federation would offer scholarships to the State indigenes to study various courses in Russia”.
Similarly, he said government is committed to ensuring a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning in secondary schools with proposed total renovation of primary and secondary schools across the state.
Health challenges are also being addressed in all the 14 Local Government Areas through the provision of ambulances that have already been procured and distributed to hospitals in fulfilment of the pledge to provide free medical services to women and children, through the approved procurement of drugs worth N5,000,000 monthly and N2,000,000 veterinary drugs by each Local Government Council of the State monthly.
In order to improve the capacity of conventional security outfits in crime detection, prevention and general surveillance, government of Matawalle has procured 206 Hilux vehicles that has been distributed to all security agencies in the State.
Equally the Zamfara Road Traffic Agency (ZAROTA) has been resuscitated and expanded its
mandate from traffic management to ensuring compliance with the directive that all contractors executing projects in the State utilise materials available in the state with a view to “propping up businesses and proving more gainful opportunities for our people”.
“We are determined to continue along this trajectory up to the last day of our stewardship”, he assured.
YUSUF IDRIS GUSAU is the Director General Press Affairs to the Governor Matawalle.