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(An opinion )By Yusuf Idris Gusau 

In life there is nothing like peace because it breeds harmony and development for communal and national growth with both the government and the governed rubbing each others back .

Even the religions that we ascribe teach us on how to live in peace and harmony for the benefit of all. 

However, since human beings are, by their creation made of various human nature, there are those who see peace as a threat to their existence and so will be bent in seeing that the most wanted peaceful coexistence is something they will dread and will sink in all their wealth and strength to truncate any peaceful coexistence because that is what gives meaning to their own lives and livelihood. 

The state of Zamfara had once upon a time been the most peaceful state in all the states of the federation with almost everything moving steadily. 

The state which is predominantly Muslim, allows all other faith especially Christianity to practice their religion without any hindrance, schools that are established by Muslims are fully attended by Christians and vice versa while churches are built along major roads for Christians to go and worship at all their  stipulated times without any need for security cover until when Boko Haram emerged that government decided to provide such security in case of any unforseen crisis, but even at that, all the religions are practiced peacefully throughout the state. 

Unfortunately, armed bandits and their sponsors especially at the later stages  of the nation’s return to civilian rule in 1999, felt the state was not going the way they wanted it as such, towards the end of 2010 they started to unleash terror on the state.

Though it started as the traditional farmer/ Harder skirmishes, not even the intelligent security operatives knew that it was the birth of the bigger and hard to control security crisis that was to  later spread mainly across all the Northwestern states and Niger state while pockets were also extended to other states.

When governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle became the governor of Zamfara state on May 29, 2019, and having come with the zeal to address the major failures of the past administration in the state, especially the issues of Security, education, healthcare delivery and the establishment of a new Zamfara among others, little did he bargain or knew that the task before him on security was far more than he  thought.

The governor who was luckily a one time Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Security however, was not deterred by the situation and so deviced  new approaches to the security situation which was by first calling on stakeholders including traditional rulers to hear from them on how to go about it and next by setting up a committee that will also advice on the way forward. 

It was after all these had been done that the governor began to identify the bandits’ leaders and camps who were already into the deadly trade of armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other heineous crimes perpetrated on innocent citizens of Zamfara State by making live very hard with people living in fears having been sacked completely from their villages which had also been razed down by the rampaging bandits. 

In order to see that peace returned and allow people go back and rebuild their villages and homes, as well as return to their farms to retain the state’s slogan of “farming is our pride,” the governor called for a truce, inviting the  bandits’ leaders and their strong lieutenants for discussions at the JB Yakubu State Secretariat Conference Hall where an understanding was reached with a large percentage of both local vigilante (Yansakai) and Fulani accepting the peace accord and unconditionally surrendering their arms with the promise to assist the state government by calling on the unrepentant ones among them to also lay off their arms and return to being good citizens in the society. 

Despite the mounting pressure from many quaters on the governor to abandon his peace and reconciliation initiative with the bandits because some of them had refused to key into the initiative, Matawalle who was in desperate need for sustained peace in his state refused to bulge for the fear that doing so could lead to the spilling of more blood, especially that of armless, helpless innocent victims. But at the same time, the governor kept cautioning the unrepentant men of the underworld of the readiness of his administration to carryout kinetic action against the bandits. 

Both the threats and the non kinetic approach by  governor Matawalle have yielded appreciable results until the emergence of a new wave of the threats which suddenly appeared in full force and defied all forms of measures to stop the trend of criminality in the state. 

Following the failure of the notorious bandits, their leaders and camps to surrender to security forces or state authorities in the name of complete repentance, the governor who had severally told the criminals that no one had monopoly of fire power and having been fed up by the lies some of the bandits used to show the government that they had left their bad ways which also meant having exhausted all the peace channels with the unrepentant ones vehemently refusing to key in, the governor with the endorsement and support from President Muhammadu Buhari who permitted the release and deployment of more military to the state and having secured the shutting off of all GSM network by the service providers in the state, the governor mobilised to the bushes where an unprecedented criminals were eliminated within a short period of time.

The continued fire power extensively and simultaneously carried out ground and air since on 3rd September, highly disorganised and significantly decimated the bandits who now came begging to be allowed to repent but met brick walls for this, as the time for the repentance had passed. 

The governor also banned the use of some  motor cycles commonly used by the bandits in the state which is largely  being used by the bandits to attack innocent citizens and order the arrest of any moving motorcycles a development which now crippled the bandits’ movement and the military are recording success on the ongoing unslaught and large number of the bandits were treated with the language they understand while others are on the run for their lives. 

Similarly, the governor is also closely monitoring the progress and success recorded by the military against the criminals by visiting the joint troops at their base in order to boost their moral and make sure the fight against banditry is won completely in the state.

Other neighbouring state governments need to also join and replicate the efforts of Governor Matawalle so that jointly the bandits will have no hiding place.

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has restrained the Federal Government from continuing with the full implementation of the demonetization policy.

Three northern states, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara, had, in a motion ex-parte filed on February 3rd, prayed the apex court to halt the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira redesign policy.

A 7-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro, in a unanimous ruling, granted an interim injunction restraining the FG, CBN, commercial banks etc, from implementing the February 10 deadline for the old 200, 500 and 1000 Naira notes to stop being a legal tender.

The court further held that the FG, CBN, and commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice on notice in respect of the issue on February 15.

By the ruling, the old Naira notes continue to be legal tenders in Nigeria.

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Zamfara State Acting Governor Sen. Hassan Muhammad Nasiha has paid an unscheduled visit to the Gusau branch of Central Bank on Monday.

The visit was part of the commitment of the Matawalle administration to ensure that the suffering of the people of the state in trying to access cash from banks has been reduced to the barest minimum.

According to the Spokesperson of the Deputy Governor Babangida Umar Zurmi, the Senator expressed dismay with the manner at which people are spending multiple hours at the ATM points trying to access cash for their daily activities.

He therefore urged the CBN to develop ways of getting people out of the present predicament.

In a response, the branch controller of CBN Mal. Buhari Abbas thanked the Deputy Governor for the visit and assured that the needful would be done and cash would be made available in the shortest possible time.

In a related development, the Deputy Governor paid similar unscheduled visits to FCMB,ECO Bank, Zenith and Gt Bank in order to hear from the citizens directly.

He commended the arrangements made by FCMB and ECO banks in trying their best to make money available for customers to withdraw, especially at the ATM Points.

As for Zenith and Gt Bank, Sen. Nasiha expressed dismay over the poor arrangements made for the customers in the two banks and urged them to ensure that Improvement has been made

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Zamfara state Acting Governor Sen. Hassan Muhammad Nasiha has paid unscheduled visit to the state Ministry of Water Resources as part of the commitment of the state government in ensuring potable water supply within Gusau the capital city and its environs.

According to the Spokesperson of the Deputy Governor Babangida Umar Zurmi, the visit of the Acting Governor was triggered by the constant public outcry over shortage of water supply in the capital city.

Sen. Nasiha who commended the effort of the staff of the Ministry for demonstrating serious commitment to duty explained that the high cost of diesel has been part of the reason that is causing inconsistencies in the frequent supply of water.

But he explained that the state government has taken the appropriate steps of increasing the funding of the Ministry because of the reality on the ground.

He urged the ministry to intensify public enlightenment so that people can be kept informed about the challenged faced by the ministry.
While urging the commissioner of Water Resources to forward situation report directly to his office for action, he directed the ministry to ensure transmission of water to Gusau town and environs twice a day.

The Commissioner for water resources in a response thanked the Deputy Governor for the visit and assured him of their readiness to comply with the government directive at all time.

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