From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
The Zamfara State Police Command has announced the arrest of a close political associate to a former governor, identified as Alhaji Abu Dantabawa of the All Progressives Congress, APC, alongside 16 other members on the allegation they were holding secret meetings with repentant bandits with a view to reengage them.
The arrest, according to the spokesman of the Police Command, SP Shehu Muhammad, followed intelligence that the suspects were in secret moves to reconvert repentant bandits into criminal activities in efforts to derail the achievement earlier made by the State Government under its Peace Reconciliation Programme.
“The suspects were under Police custody and they will be prosecuted before court as soon as further investigation into the matter is concluded. The Zamfara Police Command will not relent in its efforts in ensuring relative peace and tranquility in the State is sustained.
“We have an intelligence reports that there was an organized meeting holding between some unpatriotic politicians with repentant bandits, and the main aim was to reengage repentant bandits back to their nasty operations in the state, which Police could not fold its arms to watch”, SP Shehu Muhammad said.
Meanwhile, in a peaceful demonstration to the Police Command soliciting for the release of the arrested party members, the State opposition APC Chairman, Alhaji Lawali M. Liman, disputed Police claim that his party members were arrested in relation to secret meeting with repentant bandits.
“It has been our popular tradition in our great APC as a political party, to from time to time offer welfare to our teeming supporters across the State with a view to alleviating poverty amongst them thereby making their lives comfortable. We sometimes engage especially youth amongst them into skill acquisition programmes to acquire self-reliance”, Lawali Liman said.
Also a statement by the Director General on Media and Communication to the Government House Gusau, Malam Yusuf Idris, alleged that the close associate of the former Governor was caught in a CCTV camera installed by Governor Matawalle administration, as he held meetings with faces identified to be repentant bandits.
The statement titled ”Matawalle’s Stand on Connivance Vindicated, As Security Arrests Abu Dan Tabawa”, said that in spite of the efforts of Governor Matawalle in bringing lasting peace to the state in the last one year, pockets of insurgency continued to persist, and that “Upon Intelligence report, Governor Bello Mohammed once had a cause to issue former Governor Abdulazeez Yari a stern warning against inciting upheavals whenever he visited home.”
“For those who thought Governor Matawalle was being political with the issue, it has now become crystal clear that the hands of bitter politicians are at work in the zig-zag path to finding a lasting peace from the menace of banditry and other criminality in the state,” the statement said.
Efforts to reach out to former Governor Yari for comments were unsuccessful as he could not immediately be reached, and phone calls to his former Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Muhammad Birnin Magaji failed as his phone was switched off.