Gov Lawal has taken bold steps to address banditry –Commissioner

Zamfara State is one of the states in the country currently experiencing security challenges as a result of banditry. In this interview with MAIHARAJI ALTINE, the state Commissioner for Information, Munnir Haidara, speaks on the security measures put in place by Governor Dauda Lawal to stop banditry in the state

Zamfara State has long grappled with security issues like banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling. Past administrations made efforts to tackle these problems but didn’t succeed. How does the current government, led by Governor Dauda Lawal, plan to address these issues?

Let me start by saying that no meaningful progress can be achieved without security. For this reason, when Governor Dauda Lawal took over the mantle of leadership, he visited all the security chiefs in Abuja to solicit their support and cooperation in the fight against banditry.

Similarly, he also had several meetings with the security agencies in the state and assured them of his readiness to assist them where possible in order to effectively fight banditry.

The recent closure of some cattle markets in some local government areas where some nefarious acts of crime are being perpetrated is another measure towards ending banditry.

The state government has also established a security trust fund to source funds that can be used in the provision of security equipment, the deployment of security agents, giving training to security agents, and, above all, assisting victims of banditry in the state.

The state government also approved the recruitment of 4,200 Civilian Joint Task Force members to complement the government’s efforts in addressing the security challenges in the state. Each of the 14 local government areas is expected to recruit 300 JTF personnel, who will undergo rigorous physical training that will prepare them to assist the security agencies with actionable intelligence to combat crimes in the state.

The government has also repaired several patrol vehicles of the security agents that were long out of use due to their dilapidated nature.

Just recently, the state government came up with the idea of deploying security agents in all the dangerous spots in the state in order to allow for the free movement of goods and services.

Many people, however, believe that illiteracy, poverty, and unemployment are major contributors to the state’s insecurity. How does the Lawal-led administration aim to address these issues?

You are right. It is extremely difficult to have a violent-free society where illiteracy, joblessness, and poverty exist. For this reason, the governor believes that education is a fundamental right for all Zamfara citizens.

To ensure a complete change in the education sector, a major focus has been put in place by the present administration of Governor Lawal to ensure that every Zamfara child gets quality education at all levels.

It is against this background that the state government, during the period under review, has paid the outstanding National Examination Council (NECO) examination fees to allow the state students to sit for the 2023 examinations.

Plans are in the pipeline to review the payment of scholarships to the indigenes of the state undergoing various courses in tertiary institutions across the country.

In addition to the awards of contracts for the construction, renovations, and furnishing of some selected primary schools across the 14 local government areas of the state, the state government is also planning to employ 1,500 youths under the present administration programme, tagged “Zamfara Youths Sanitation Programme,” as part of the fulfilment of the campaign promises made by the Governor to make youths in the state more useful in society and further reduce the security challenges facing the state.

These youths will be used to make our environment safe. Some key environmental initiatives have been rolled out to protect the environment and combat climate change.

To cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal, under the Federal Government’s palliatives programmes, the state government has received N2bn out of the N5bn allocated to the state, in addition to the allocation of 11,877 bags of 50 kg of rice and 2,834 bags of 25kg of rice for distribution across the six local government areas selected for phase one of the programme, where over 200,000 vulnerable households would benefit from cushioning the effect of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

Phase two of the palliative distribution to the remaining eight local government areas will commence when we take delivery.

As part of the state government’s efforts to complement Federal Government efforts, the Lawal-led administration has pledged to supplement the N5bn with additional funds to cater to the needs of the entire community in the state.

Accordingly, the state government has also approved the procurement of 50 Hiace 18-seater buses for inter- and intra-transportation services, in addition to another 10 units of 52-seater Marcopolo buses for the transportation of students to schools across the state.

Medical facilities

The state government is not unaware of the problems encountered by the people of the state in assessing medical facilities due to abject poverty.

For this reason, the Dauda Lawal administration has initiated and launched a Special Modified Monthly Medical Outreach Programme with a view to giving free medical services to patients with special cases in all the local government areas of the state. This has indeed led to improvements in healthcare service delivery for the residents.

Roads and safe drinking water are two other sectors that previous administrations have neglected. What measures has this government taken to address the situation?

Critical infrastructural projects have been fast-tracked under the present leadership, which include improving transportation, road rehabilitations, and other public facilities.

During the period under review, the state government, under its state renewal mission, has awarded a contract for the reconstruction of some roads in Gusau, the state capital.

On the issue of water supply in Gusau town, the state capital where many lives were lost in the past due to water scarcity, the governor, after visiting the board, immediately awarded a contract for the procurement of water chemicals, two standby digital power generators, and pumping machines for effective service delivery of the water board. These indeed facilitated a constant supply of water in Gusau and some communities within the town.

The governor has also constituted a Special Task Force Committee on Water Supply in the state with a mandate to identify water supply problems in Gusau and other local government areas of the state.

As I am talking to you now, the committee has since submitted its reports and recommendations to His Excellency, waiting for government implementation.

Let me express my gratitude to the people of the state for their trust and support of this administration. I urge them to stand firm in their support of Governor Lawal.

I am confident that the renewed mission of Governor Lawal will bring positive changes in the security, social, economic, and material conditions of our dear state and expand access to improved quality of life for all Zamfara people.

The present administration remains committed to its vision for a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable Zamfara state.

As the journey continues, the governor looks forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to achieve the desired goals and aspirations.

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