An arrested bandit in the North-west, on interrogation, told security operatives that he purchased his fierce-looking gun-truck from the neighbouring Niger Republic. A few months back, another young gun-runner arrested said he has supplied over 400 AK47 to Zamfara state from the same Niger Republic. These are, indeed, a tip of the iceberg.
Now, we are fighting bandits and banditry in Nigeria. Let us assume our luck will go far enough to neutralise all the bandits in our midst and recover all their existing weapons. Another set will spring up before we heave a sigh of relief because the source of weapons in-flow is still alive and potent. It’s like evacuating water from a spring!
Of all the governors of the North-west, only Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state had the vision to look beyond the problem to where it emanates. He did not stop at that, but made frantic effort to face it. In his first few months, he was at Maradi to meet with his colleague there to explore ways by which Niger Republic can help in severing the traffic in-flow of dangerous weapons into their country. This is because 100% of the trafficed weapons find themselves into Nigeria.
This effort snow-balled into a bigger exploit where Dr Matawalle finally met with the Nigerien President, Mohanmmed Bozoum twice on different occasions in Niamey. The stages of his visit which gave a solid foundation of the strategy arrived to deal with this problem led him to President Muhammadu Buhari where he explained the successes of his visits. Matawalle had earlier made a Zamfara state government’s donation of five Hilux vans to the Nigerien government for the fight against the traffickers.
Overwhelmed by this effort, President Buhari immediately sent Matawalle back to Niamey on his behalf to conclude talks with the Nigerien president which he has since accomplished. We are now at the implementation stage where we hope that this visionary and bold step by Matawalle and fully supported by President Buhari will start yielding desirable results.
Now, where are those political hooligans who selected just one of Governor Matawalle’s visits and clandestinely zero it to a game of local wrestling?
Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications to Zamfara State Governor.