Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, has refuted the claim that the federal government is in covert dialogue with Zamfara State bandits, asserting the state government is aware of all their moves.
The Minister issued this statement in response to allegations made by Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, who claimed that the federal government was in discussions with Zamfara terrorists to secure the release of kidnapped individuals.
He dismissed the claim, pointing out that the “Federal Government is working assiduously round the clock to ensure that the girls and others return home.”
Attari Hope, the acting Director of Public Relations at the Ministry of Defence (MOD), conveyed the Minister’s confidence on Monday, stating that the joint security task forces are dedicated to the successful rescue of the students.
The Minister said:
- “The allegation is false and misleading as the Ministry has not mandated anybody or group to negotiate on behalf of the Federal Government.”
- He explained that President Bola Tinubu has given marching orders to the Military and other security agencies to ensure the release of those who were abducted in the State.
- Speaking further, he said that the order of Mr President has started yielding results as 13 of the abducted students and three others regained their freedom on Monday, September 25, 2023, adding that “This feat was achieved through the professional efforts of the Military.”
He, however, condole with families of the girls and others that were abducted saying: “I share in your pain and strongly condemn this reprehensible act carried out by suspected bandits.”
On his part, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Muhammed Matawalle, who was the immediate-past governor of the State, also condemned the attack in all totality and called on the nation’s dedicated security forces to intensify efforts and deploy every available resource to secure the safe return of the abducted students.
He said that all hands must be on deck in securing the release of the abducted students.
- “As part of President Bola Ahmed Tinibu’s eight-point agenda of strengthening national security for peace and prosperity, I condemn and vow to secure the release of the abducted students,” he stated.
Earlier, Nairametrics reported that Governor Dauda Lawal, on Tuesday, alleged that there are Federal Government agents in Zamfara who are secretly negotiating with bandits in the state.
The governor made it clear that there is substantial evidence at his disposal to disclose the names and identities of those who represent the Federal Government yet negotiate with armed criminals in Zamfara.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the Zamfara Governor, Sulaiman Bala Idris in response to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, who alleged that Governor Lawal is playing politics with insecurity in the state.
The statement reads in part,
- “We sought clarification from the Federal Government regarding the sneaky negotiations with bandits carried out by some of its agents without recourse to the State Government and heads of Security agencies in the State.
- “We have facts and evidence on what had transpired between these agents of the Federal Government and the bandits during the negotiations in several places across Zamfara.
- “It is disappointing that the information minister discredited our claim without verifying it first. What is expected of him as a professional is to collaborate with relevant authorities to substantiate the claim’s authenticity.
- “Zamfara State Government respects protocol and established authority. We would not come out in the media to start exposing the names of the Federal Government agents involved in the covert dialogue with bandits.”