Seven ‘repentant’ bandits who claim to have had a change of heart in Zamfara State have pledged not to engage in any form of criminality anymore.
Zailani Bappa, Special Adviser on Media and Communications to Governor Bello Matawalle, disclosed in a statement that the repentant bandits publicly surrendered 14 dangerous weapons, the smallest among them being the popular AK 47 to Matawalle at the Government House on Thursday.
Quoting the state Commissioner for Security Affairs, Abubakar Dauran, who presented them to the governor, Zappa added that the repentant bandits said they willingly took the decision and would accept to be re-integrated into society.
Accepting their resolve as they took an oath with the Holy Quran, Matawalle promised to continue with the peace process in the state by employing the carrot and stick approach.
The statement reads, “Seven hardened bandits in Zamfara State have softened and repented as they surrendered their weapons to embrace the peace accord instituted by Governor Bello Mohammed’s administration to end the decade-old banditry in the state.
“The repentant bandits surrendered 14 dangerous weapons, the smallest among them being the popular AK 47. They publicly surrendered the weapons to Governor Bello Mohammed at the Government House today.
“The state Commissioner for Security Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran who presented them to Governor Matawalle said they willingly took the decision to accept the peace offer by the governor and will accept to be re-integrated into the society.
“Governor Matawalle accepted their resolve as they took an oath with the Holy Quran not to either go back to their past ways or become informants for their former colleagues who have yet to key into the peace process.
“Governor Matawalle promised to continue with the peace process in the state, employing the carrot and stick approach towards a successful end to the menace in the state.
“The repentant bandits were received in the presence of some traditional rulers in the state and a number of Islamic clerics who took turns to give them words of advice as their weapons were handed over to the state police command.”
Zamfara, like other North-West states, has in the last 10 years faced devastating attacks from armed bandits.
In 2019, the state government entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
About 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and cash gifts were also given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ banditry groups by the governor in 2020.
But despite all these, communities in the state are still being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.