The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has said the Nigerian Army would support any process adopted by the government of Zamfara state to bring an end to banditry in the state.
Buratai stated this when the Governor of Zamfara state, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, paid him a courtesy visit at the Army headquarter Wednesday, in Abuja.
“The Nigerian Army is in support of whatever the civil authorities decide to bring an end to insecurity in whatever part of the country,” he said.
Buratai who reiterated the commitment of the Army to secure and rid the nation of all forms of criminality including banditry commended the governor for the steps he has taken so far towards bringing peace to the state.
He said: “We are 100 per cent in support of whatever the civil administration decides towards bringing about peace and security in our country.
“We have remained apolitical and indeed the military is an instrument of the state; for it to achieve the state objectives in bringing peace and development to the country.
“I want to say that the dialogue option must be comprehensive, there must be disarmament which is quite fundamental”.
“We will support you to ensure that there is complete disarmament and equally the concept of de-radicalisation and other political process which I believe the government will take note and see how it can implement it not only in Zamfara state but across the states that are facing this banditry especially Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.
“Definitely as I said’ it is a collective effort. Just about two days ago, the combined troops of the military including the police and the state services went from Zamfara into Katsina state to flush out these bandits and over 170 of them were either neutralised or captured or absconded from their camps. This is one of the pressures that the Army had put on the criminals that have forced them to look for the dialogue option,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Gov. Matawalle said he was at the Army Headquarters to show appreciation to the COAS and personnel of the Army for their efforts towards combating banditry in zamfara state and for providing enabling environment for dialogue and negotiations to take place between the state government and the bandits leading to serious improvements in security and the release of over 120 persons including foreign nationals.
According to the governor, “Part of the zamfara state dialogue with the bandits is the appeal by the bandits through the state Governor to the Army to suspend or scale down its operations as a condition for them (bandits) to surrender and lay down their arms.”