Zamfara state governor, Bello Matawalle, has said not all bandits who terrorize parts Nigeria are criminals.
The governor stated this after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja today February 18.
He explained that most of the bandits take up arms due to the injustice meted on them by some members of the society.
“Not all of them are criminals. If you investigate what is happening, and what made them to take the laws into their hands, some of them, sometimes were cheated by so-called the vigilante group.
They normally go to their settlements and destroy property and take their animals. They did not have anyone to speak with, so sometimes, they go for revenge. When the vigilante group attacks them, they go for reprisals. That is exactly what happened
Some of them are living in settlements close to villages or towns. When there are military operations, the military will go and destroy their property and animals. They are angry with such actions sometimes. If you are talking to them, you can understand where they are coming from and their problems.
It is important for us as leaders to sit down with them and understand what is the genesis. You can’t just conclude that this person is a criminal. You have to listen to him. What led him to go into such activities?
It is not all Fulanis that are criminals. Some are good citizens, but due to some circumstances, they subscribed to such criminality but when we had the information, we called their leaders and sat with them, they told us their grudges and we sorted out the way the communities and the Fulanis can resolve their issues without any serious crisis.”he said
Prominent Islamic cleric and scholar, Ahmad Gumi, also alleged that herdsmen took up arms after being continously brutalized by security forces and neglected by the government.