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GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA:SHOWCASING A PARTNERSHIP IN ZAMFARA

By Yusuf Idris Gusau

Is the media a willing tool in the hands of anarchists or an innocent arbiter between feuding political interests? Much as there are many ways to find out how, the task is not as easy as it seems. Needless to say, to us the media is part owner of a peaceful and tranquil Zamfara State. We are proud of its contributions so far.

Oftentimes, finding and disseminating the facts, and truthfulness of those facts, can appear difficult especially with our polarized political firmament, wild guesses and conjectures do take the front burner to our chagrin. How do we then make an informed analysis especially in situations of insecurity as obtained in today’s Zamfara?

That is what the government of Zamfara State is grappling with at the moment, as it is confronted with political actors who lost relevance but are trying hard to fuel the fires of discontent through the media, that could lead to conflicts, injuries and even deaths. We make haste to say the media outfits in Zamfara have lived to expectations, barring little problems which in themselves do not seem deliberate.

Zamfara State Government is friend to the media. It has left no one in doubt the media, conventional and social, are its partners not only in its quest for a developed and modern state but one free of sectarian violence and banditry.

In its engagement with the Fourth Estate of the Realm, it prioritizes close contact as well as an open door policy for the representatives of various media houses to access information at will being the only way the larger society can be adequately informed of government’s actions and policies that drives development.

It is in this vein I wish to state unequivocally that the recent unrest in the fridges of the state were analyzed wrongly by certain media houses in the state.

This is not, by any stretch of imagination, an indictment of the hard working journalists and friends of our government plying their trade here. I make bold to say Zamfara is blessed with a crop professional journalists covering its political, social and economic activities.

The government is proud of them. And as the Bello Mohammed Matawalle has said several times he will remain grateful to the media for assisting him greatly while grappling with the insecurity situation he met on ground.

Suffice it to say we will continue our modest attempt to aid the free flow of accurate and indisputable facts and figures behind the undesirable upheavals that visited law abiding citizens of Zamfara.

Unfortunately, try as it would to secure the state and it’s citizens, certain elements within the opposition who are refusing to accept defeat are fanning the embers of violence aimed at derailing the hard earned peace process that has been achieved.

This is of course revealed by the explanation of the Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on security, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, who said in spite of the setback, the peace deal is still intact, and all stakeholders in the peace process are in touch with one another.

It should be noted that it’s not only government that is desirous of peace to prevail but the repentant bandits and the Yan Sakai who have keyed into the process. In fact they have at various fora condemned the recent attacks and vowed to abide by the terms of the agreement, and the leadership of the two have assured government they will continue to communicate with their members against any move to jeorpadize the peace deal reached with both parties in dispute.

“Part of the measures taken was that the cows seized from the Fulani by the Yan Sakai were returned to their owners and the cattle herded away by the bandits after Sunday’s attack were also released to the owners. So, you see, both sides are willing to sheath their swords.

“I can tell you also that security operatives have arrested the Yan Sakai that perpetrated the earlier attack on the Fulani and the Fulani too were arrested and the actions taken  will bring back sanity to our communities,” Dauran added.

Government is pained that there are people who would rather see Zamfara burn to the ground than make efforts to assist their own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers against untold and unwarranted hardship and even deaths for a futile journey to score cheap political points.

We believe this mindset is evil and far from democratic ideals expected of contestants in an election, which had since been decided.

The government is therefore pleading with the media as partners in progress not to aid these forces of darkness in the evil quest for power.
Governor Bello Mohammed is in fact disappointed with some political figures in the state and has sent a serious warning to people peddling lies and posting pictures on social media platforms in order to distract from his administration’s effort in addressing security challenges in the State.

He gave the warning while receiving eight Ak47 rifles, a pistol and 12 rounds of ammunition voluntarily surrendered to the government by one of the repentant bandits, Saleh Kawajo Kuyambana at
Government, he said, is going to take serious action against anyone found in the act of peddling lies or posting pictures that are not true reflections of the incidents and happenings in any part of the state vowing to instruct security agencies in the state to arrest and prosecute anybody found culpable no matter how highly placed.

He particularly wondered why the former governor Abdulaziz Yari is not happy with the peace so far recorded by the present administration and is instigating his boys to go against the ongoing Security development efforts put in place.

The suspected involvement of the former governor is of course informed by sheer coincidence that violence erupts anytime he visited making it the third time so far, and those visits heralds Security breaches following unlawful gathering that the former Governor always organized.

We believe a note of warning is appropriate at this time. Security is the responsibility of all and we wonder why some people such as the ex governor Yari and his followers are not happy with the current development in which the security of the state has been significantly improved.

Matawalle who was earlier billed to travel to Germany to discuss investments into the state had to cancel the trip because of the unfortunate incident that occurred in Karaye village of Gummi local Government area that resulted in the loss of 14 innocent souls.

If there is any police command anywhere in Nigeria that is working relentlessly to bring peace to a people, that command is easily found in Zamfara. The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Usman Nagogo and his able men and women are living a life of sacrifice.

At the wake of recent upheaval the police were top of their game.
As recent as in September Alhaji Usman Nagogo, had a fruitful parley with Yan Sakai, representatives of the armed bandits and Fulani leaders to restate the need to maintain the peace effort. To show seriousness of the effort, the Emir of Gummi, Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi (rtd), was engaged in the parley right inside the emir’s palace. The meeting was of course, part of plans by the police to consolidate on the peace deal and  douse tension in Gwalli district.
Government responsibility is to the happiness and peace of its citizens. That is the Matawalle wants see happen no matter whose horse is gored.

YUSUF IDRIS GUSAU
Director General Press Affairs office of the Executive Governor
Government House, Gusau

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