Governor Bello Matawalle, has denied media reports that he donated 15 new Hilux Vans to leaders of repentant bandits in Zamfara, stating that the false and malicious publication on Monday, was targeted at disabusing the minds of law-abiding and patriotic citizens of the state.
The reaction from Governor Bello Matawalle comes following a report by Sahara Reporters on Monday 19th January 2021, where they alleged that the Governor, bought 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and gave them to leaders of different repentant bandits in Zamfara State. The news outlet in their report, also further alleged that the governor also approved millions of naira to be given to the repentant bandits as compensation.
The Governor taking to his official social media handle on Tuesday 20th January 2021, rubbished the claims, saying:
“This is a false and malicious report by a dead newspaper clinging on spreading fake news to stay relevant. Sahara reporters should’ve professionally sought out our government to verify this information before rushing to press. This is against the ethics of journalism,” the governor tweeted.
Governor Matawalle went further in his tweet, to post photos of the said Hilux vans which he said were distributed to security agencies and not to leaders of repentants bandits as reported by Sahara Reporters. He said:
“The said vehicles, 200 of them were donated to security agencies in the state to boost their morale in tackling insurgency. This is a display of quackery and sheer mischief targeted at disabusing the minds of law-abiding and patriotic citizens of the state” he said.
This was the report by Sahara Reporters on Monday:
“The Zamfara State Government had in 2019 entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
But despite the accord, communities in the state are still being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.
A top military officer told SaharaReporters that the bandits now carry out attacks with some of the vehicles given to them by Matawalle.
The officer said, “Those bandits have different group, so if they say they repent, the governor will give them a Hilux vehicle but unfortunately they are now using the vehicles to carry out attacks.
“On Sunday, they attacked Jankara but were resisted by the local vigilantes, so they fled and left one of those Hilux vehicles and the motorcycles they came with behind.
“It’s so sad, he called it peace and reconciliation programme, but all you need to be rich now in Zamfara is to take up arms against the people.” the report said.