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Defence Minister Asserts: Nigerian Communities Permitted to Engage in Dialogue with Bandits Amidst Zamfara Incident

September 26, 2023

In a significant development regarding the abduction of female students from Federal University Gusau in Zamfara State, the Nigerian Minister of Defence, Mohammed Abubakar, has issued a statement clarifying the government’s stance on negotiations with bandits or terrorists.

Abubakar affirmed that if communities decide to engage in dialogue with bandits or terrorists, the Federal Government would not rush to condemn such initiatives.

However, he emphasized that the government had not mandated any individual or group to negotiate with terrorists on its behalf concerning the Zamfara abduction.

This statement came in response to Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State’s accusation that the Federal Government was secretly negotiating with the Zamfara terrorists to secure the release of the abducted schoolgirls. The governor claimed to have received reports of negotiations taking place with various terrorists in the state’s local government areas.

In a swift rebuttal through his spokesperson, Suleiman Haruna, the Defence Minister accused the governor of politicizing the matter and stated that the allegation was false and misleading. Abubakar asserted that the Ministry had not authorized anyone to negotiate on behalf of the Federal Government.

The Defence Minister extended his heartfelt sympathy to the parents, the academic community, and the citizens of Zamfara State affected by the tragic abduction. He reiterated the government’s commitment to exploring every available avenue to de-escalate tension and restore peace to areas plagued by banditry.

Abubakar clarified that President Bola Tinubu had given marching orders to the military and other security agencies to secure the release of the abducted students. He announced that this directive had already yielded results, with 13 students and 3 others rescued on Monday, 25th, 2023, through the professional efforts of the military.

The Minister concluded by assuring Nigerians that the federal government and its institutions were working diligently to bring an end to the ongoing wave of banditry, kidnapping, and criminality across the country.

 

Credit: Sahara Reporters

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