In a recent turn of events that has gripped the nation with concern and apprehension, the Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, raised serious allegations that certain federal agencies were secretly engaging in negotiations with the notorious bandits terrorizing the state. This revelation sent shockwaves across Nigeria, prompting citizens to demand answers and clarity from the federal government.
Clarifying the Standpoint
The federal government swiftly responded to these allegations, categorically refuting any mandate given to individuals or groups to negotiate with bandits on its behalf. This statement came from the highest authorities, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, and the Minister of State, Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle. They both expressed their concerns over the situation while debunking the claims made by Governor Lawal.
“The said allegation is false and misleading as the ministry has not mandated anybody or group to negotiate on behalf of the federal government,” Minister Mohammed Badaru Abubakar stated emphatically. This statement was pivotal in setting the record straight and dispelling any misconceptions about the government’s stance on negotiating with bandits.
The Plight of Abducted Students
Amidst these political developments, the nation’s focus remained on the harrowing situation involving the abduction of female students from a university in Zamfara. The incident sent shockwaves throughout the country, with many expressing their deep concern for the safety and well-being of the students.
The two Defence Ministers assured the people of Zamfara and all Nigerians that every effort was being made to ensure the swift return of the abducted female students and others from Federal University, Gusau. They expressed their confidence in the joint security task forces, which were working tirelessly and discreetly around the clock to secure the release of the students.
While condemning the act in the strongest terms, Senior Minister Badaru Abubakar affirmed that the federal government was sparing no effort to secure the release of the abducted students. He extended his heartfelt sympathy to the parents, the academic community, and the entire citizenry of Zamfara State for the tragic abduction.
A Unified Call for Action
Both Defence Ministers made a resounding call to action, emphasizing the need for all hands to be on deck in securing the release of the abducted students. Senior Minister Badaru Abubakar invoked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s eight-point agenda for strengthening national security for peace and prosperity. He asserted, “I condemn and vow to secure the release of the abducted students.”
Meanwhile, Junior Minister Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle assured the citizens of the state that both air and ground components of the military had already been massively deployed within Zamfara. Every possible measure would be taken to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians in the region.
He further revealed that President Tinubu had issued a clear directive to the military and other security agencies to ensure the release of those abducted. This directive had already begun yielding results, with 13 of the abducted students and three others regaining their freedom. The feat was achieved through the unwavering and professional efforts of the military.
A Message of Condolence
In the midst of this crisis, Junior Minister Matawalle extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the abducted girls and others who had suffered at the hands of suspected bandits. He expressed deep empathy, saying, “I share in your pain and strongly condemn this reprehensible act carried out by suspected bandits.”
In conclusion, the recent allegations of secret negotiations with bandits by federal agencies have raised significant concerns in Zamfara State and across Nigeria. However, the federal government has unequivocally denied any such mandate and is actively working to secure the release of the abducted students.
The Defence Ministers, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Dr. Bello Muhammed Matawalle, have expressed their commitment to this cause and have called on all Nigerians to unite in the effort to bring the students home safely. The nation remains hopeful that with concerted efforts and a steadfast resolve, these students will be reunited with their families and can continue their pursuit of education.