Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State says bandits now release their kidnap victims willingly without financial or other conditions.
This claim was made in a statement signed by Yusuf Idris, the Director-General, Press Affairs to the Governor, and made available to journalists in Gusau on Wednesday.
“The development is the result of a Peace and Reconciliation Initiative set up by the governor about three weeks ago to negotiate with bandits and other criminals to lay down their arms, renounce their criminal ways and embrace peace.
“The governor received eight additional kidnap victims yesterday, Tuesday, from the state Commissioner of Police who is leading the negotiations and expressed happiness that the process is being carried out peacefully and without further bloodshed.
The governor, who commended the police boss and his team for the efforts, directed the Government House Clinic to carry out thorough medical tests on all the victims to ensure that they are mentally and physically fit before they will be reunited with their families,’’ it said.
The statement quoted the Commissioner of Police, Usman Nagogo, as saying that the latest received victims, which comprised three women and their five children, were kidnapped about four months ago in Dansadau Emirate of Maru Local Government area and rescued at Birnin Gwari bushes of Kaduna state.
“The latest rescue brought the number of rescued kidnap victims under the initiative to 59 in the last one week,’’ the statement said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that for over nine years, bandits had held the state through kidnapping, cattle rustling, armed banditry, killing of innocent citizens and destruction of farmlands, foodstuff, houses and other properties.