The governor of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, on July 18 commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for the role it played in helping to suspend attacks by armed bandits who have been terrorizing inhabitants of the state and forcing them to the negotiating table.
Backstory: While on a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at NAF Headquarters, the governor noted that the pressure mounted on the criminals by the NAF and other security agencies, through air and ground assaults, “was able to halt attacks on villages thereby bringing relative calm to the State.”
- An alleged video clip from one of the meetings with the Zamfara bandits wherein one of their leaders boasted in Hausa about his invincibility as the governor and others listened and clapped, surfaced online over the weekend.
- On July 15, information emerged that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, was reported to have been one of the parties who facilitated the truce with bandits in Zamfara state.
- Truly, there had been instances of air bombardment on bandits’ stronghold which routed them out and forced them to the negotiation table, in the past few weeks, but its effect may have been exaggerated.
- Just this weekend, Zamfara villagers proceeded on a tour to dump corpses of victims of armed bandit attacks at the gate of the government house. Other incidents of similar nature were reported in Zamfara even after the governor’s camaraderie-fashioned declaration.
Question: If the bombardments have been so effective as touted by the governor, then why is the governor so desperate to negotiate with the criminals and to draw up a secretive agreement?