The governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Ahmad Hashim, has urged the Zamfara State Government to support community leaders to negotiate with bandits to allow hitch-free voting in the 2023 general elections.
He said this during an exclusive interview at the party’s secretariat in Gusau, the state capital.
According to him, since the government and Islamic clerics could approach the bandits for peace, it is equally possible to approach them to cease fire during the 2023 general elections.
Hashim noted that the bandits are approachable because they live and eat with the locals, and they operate mainly in rural areas, and the locals know them very well.
“Go to any community in the state and verify, you will discover that the bandits operating in the areas are members of the communities; there is no doubt about that,” he added.
“Some time ago, my father was kidnapped and we knew who organized the kidnapping and the person is also from our village and my father pointed at him that he was the person that kidnapped him.”
Hashim refuted the claim that the bandits operating in the state are from other states, stressing that they are indigenes of Zamfara State.
He explained that the issue of insecurity needs to be followed by a local approach, pointing out that only the communities can settle the issue because they know the bandits, and the bandits know them.
The governorship candidate said that the state government did well by initiating the peace accord and reconciliation process with the bandits, but the government followed the wrong approach.
Hashim explained that the state government did not make wider consultations before coming out for the peace accord and reconciliation process with the bandits.
The politician noted that for any peace accord and reconciliation process to succeed, the locals must be involved, which he said the government did not do.
According to him, there is no community where bandits operate without one or more villagers being involved in the operation.
“The community leaders are the people to have initiated the peace accord and reconciliation with the bandits because they know them, the government can only give support.
“The peace accord and reconciliation process failed because the government did not follow the proper channels,” he said.
He stated that the bandits had overpowered the state government and the security agencies in the system because they neglected the locals who were supposed to have guided them.
He said that both the federal and state governments have failed in the area of security, stressing that the whole world knows that Zamfara State is a colony of banditry, but the federal government could not station even one fighter jet in the state.
“The fighter jets are only coming into the state occasionally, stay for some hours and then leave. Each time the fighter jets come in, there is calm,” he said.
He further stated that the state government could support the community leaders to engage the bandits in dialogue to enable voters to come out en mass and cast their votes without fear.
“We should not forget that most of the bandits also have voters cards and would be at the polling stations but to destroy if negotiations were not made with the bandits’ leaders,” he concluded.