By Ismail Auwal
Zamfara State Government has on Tuesday reacted to Sahara Reporter’s story which alleged that the state government has given 15 Hilux vans and ‘millions of naira’ to repentant bandits calling it a “jaundiced crap”.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications Zailani Bappa.
According to the statement, “The attention of Zamfara state Government has been drawn to a jaundiced crap called a story by Sahara Reporters where the medium alleged that His Excellency Governor Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun) has given 15 Hilux vans and ‘millions of naira’ to repentant bandits who in turn, are now using the same vehicles to attack innocent communities in the state.”
Bappa said that, “As the ethics of journalism provides, allegation such as this requires balancing from the accused before publication. However, either due to carelessness, quackery or sheer mischief, the medium went ahead to publish this story obviously sourced fron the enemies of peace in the state without balancing from the side of the Government.”
The Special Adviser added that, to disabuse the minds of those law abiding and patriotic Nigerians, Governor Bello Mohammed used from the meager resources of the state Government to purchase 200 Hilux vans in support of Security operatives in the state.
“These vehicles were duly distributed to all security agencies in the state under the supervision of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police . The beneficiaries included the Military, the Police, the Customs and Excise, the Immigration Services, the NDLEA, the NSCDC, the FRSC, among others,” he added.
“It is part of the State Government initiative for peace to settle down repentant bandits which the state Government is currently building a modern RUGA for them at Maradun with two more coming up in the near future.”
The State Government in the statement said it is grateful to the so-called repentant bandits who are daily assisting the Government in negotiating with those who refuse to surrender and in apprehending those who refuse to surrender.
“With all the programs of the Government towards peace in the state, at no time it gave vehicles or money to the so-called repentant bandits because there was no agreement to such.”
“This is thus, a wicked allegation and simply a figment of the writer’s imagination or an intended machination to discredit the administration of His Excellency Governor Bello Muhammad and undermine the peace effort in the state.”
“The state Government also calls on the Nigerian Military to require Sahara Reporters to substantiate their faceless and distinctly imaginary so-called Military officer source of this story because it borders on peace and is a matter of life and death of innocent citizens or face required discipline.”