The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, has expressed disappointment with Zamfara State Governor, Dr Dauda Lawal, for what he perceives as a politicisation of the abduction of students of the Federal University of Gusau.
Governor Lawal had on Monday called out what he termed ‘secretive’ negotiations between agencies of the federal government and bandits, expressing concern that the state government or security agencies were not informed
He said the actions would undermine the fight against banditry in Zamfara.
However, the minister said instead of acknowledging the swift efforts of security agents and federal government institutions in rescuing the students, the governor, according to him, has chosen to exploit the situation for political gain.
In a statement, the Minister emphasised that federal government institutions are legally empowered to take action, independently if necessary, to ensure the safe return of citizens unlawfully taken hostage, as exemplified in the case of the abducted students.
“The absence of public disclosure about the intricate details of such delicate operations, he clarified, does not equate to secrecy, as alleged by the Zamfara State Government.”
The Minister went on to clarify that no official representing the Federal Government has been involved in negotiations with any bandit or group of bandits, but said the government remained committed to exploring all available avenues for de-escalating tension and restoring peace to communities plagued by banditry.
He added that if communities opt to engage in negotiations, “the Federal Government would not criticise such community-driven initiatives.“
The minister assured Nigerians that the government was working to reverse the current security challenges and put an end to banditry and kidnapping.
Writing by Joshua Adams; Editing by Saadatu Albashir