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Zamfara: Bandits collect N3 billion ransom in 8years – committee

The Committee set up by Governor Bello Matawalle to find solutions to banditry in Zamfara State, has disclosed that over N3 billion was collected by bandits as ransom from relations of abducted victims in the state.

Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Abubakar, made the disclosure while presenting the committee’s report to the governor on Friday in Gusau, the state capital.

He said the report covered the period from June 2011 to May 29, 2019.

He said the money was collected from 3,672 victims whose relatives paid to secure their freedom.

Mr Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), 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.

Abubakar said 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 the committee also advised government to partner neighbouring state governments to rehabilitate all interstate 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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