The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris has accused the Zamafara State Governor, Dauda Lawal of playing politics with security.
The Minister in a statement on Monday signed by the Deputy Director, Press at the Ministry, Suleiman Haruna denied the allegation that any official of the federal government was negotiating with bandits in Zamfara State.
The statement comes as a reaction to the Governor’s allegation that the Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government was secretly meeting with bandit groups in the state.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Sulaiman Bala Idris, the governor said some government agencies engaged in negotiations with bandits without the knowledge of the state government and other security agencies.
Lawal, therefore, called for an urgent and comprehensive investigation by the Tinubu government into the secretive negotiations held with bandits in the state by the agencies.
However, the federal government replied that while it is within its constitutional powers to take action on issues of security in any part of the country without revealing details, the accusation of negotiating with criminals is not true.
Idris accused Lawal of playing politics with the sensitive matter for political goals rather than appreciating security agents and Federal Government institutions for the prompt effort to rescue the abducted students of the Federal University Gusau.
“The Minister states, for the avoidance of doubt, that no official of the Federal Government is engaged in negotiation with any bandit or group of bandits. The government, however, maintains its resolve to explore every available avenue that can lead to the de-escalation of tension and bring back peace to communities ravaged by banditry.
“However, if communities decide to borrow a leaf from what has helped quench unrest in other parts of the country to engage themselves in dialogue, the Federal Government would not be in a haste to condemn such people-driven initiative.
“The Minister assures Nigerians that the Federal Government and its institutions are working assiduously to turn around the current situation and bring an end to the ebbing cases of banditry, kidnapping and all forms of criminality. Political differences or personal fight with anybody should not be brought into the serious matter of national security to avoid demoralising our troops or and derailing the government’s effort.
“Finally, the Minister maintains that the Federal Government is willing to listen and continue its ongoing engagement with all stakeholders across the country in working out a lasting solution to our security problems. We urge all to put hands on deck with us”, the statement noted.
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