Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state, yesterday, revealed that 10 AK-47 rifles were returned to the state government by bandits at N1 million each, putting the total sum paid as reward at N10million.
The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a close-door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He expressed concerns over the growing insecurity in the state, saying “in 2015, with just about 250 soldiers, the crime rate was low; but with over 1,600 soldiers of different categories, we cannot contain crime in the state.”
Yari also told journalists that some traditional rulers in the state were sympathetic to bandits terrorising innocent citizens, stressing that those fingered would face severe consequences.
“Some of the traditional rulers are supporting the banditry activities or taking advantage or taking money from them or relationship; that is very dangerous. To give you trust to manage people through tradition, and then you are taking part, directly or indirectly, that is not acceptable.
“What we are trying to do is to kind of teach a lesson because the problem we have in Zamfara state in the North-west, is a kind of peculiar problem. Anyone that we find wanting in this, definitely he must face punishment.
“And we are trying to use every avenue that we have to ensure that we fish out those that are within us- within the traditional rulers and outside. That is why we hired intelligence, the civilian JTF and all of them, so that they can help us by giving us the details,” he said.
Yari dismissed calls for a declaration of state of emergency in the state to frontally tackle the challenges, saying Zamfara was not the only state bedevilled by insecurity in the country.
“Are there no killing of security officers anywhere else in the Nigeria, except Zamfara? Why shouldn’t they call for that in the other places,” he said.
The governor declined to comment on the political development in the state, as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in unable field candidates for the 2019 elections.
“If you want to discuss politics, you can go to party secretariat,” he told the journalists.