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Matawalle: Insecurity now a business | Conflict entrepreneurs behind banditry in north-west

Matawalle: Insecurity now a business | Conflict entrepreneurs behind banditry in north-west
November 12
12:33 2023

Bello Matawalle, minister of state for defence, says conflict entrepreneurs are responsible for the unending banditry in the north-west. 

Matawalle spoke in an interview with NAN in Abuja.

He said during his tenure as governor of Zamfara, he observed that people traded with bandits. 

“Banditry has its economy, which is fuelling the crime in the country,” he said. 

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“Conflict entrepreneurs don’t want insecurity to finish in this country. Many people in the north are part of the business.

“I call it business now because those selling drugs are part of it, those selling food, fuel and other essentials are all part of it.

“The informants get a lot from doing that. They are paid handsomely for that crime.

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“So, they don’t want the evil to end. Many people have keyed into the business.

“Also, when a bag of rice was sold for between N18,000 and N21,000 when it gets to the enclave of the bandits, it goes for as much as N80,000.”

The minister, however, said security was a collective responsibility for all Nigerians, adding that people must put their differences aside and team up to fight it.

He said if not for some of the actions he took as governor, the northern part of the country would have been burning by now.

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“If not for some actions I took when I was a governor, by this time, northern Nigeria would be in a big fire,” the minister added. 

“Remember that I was the first governor in the whole north, who cut off the communication network in his state.

“I cut off the network to allow security agencies to go in and push out those criminals.

“I did that because there were many times that if our soldiers were going to do some operations before they reached the enclave of the bandits, the bandits would be informed.

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“Their informants will inform them, so they normally ambush our soldiers, killing them.”

Matawalle said the worst part of the situation was that people didn’t appreciate what the military was doing.

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“I feel so because if one civilian is killed, the news would be everywhere, but if it is a soldier that is killed, nobody says anything,” he said. 

“So, the issue of security is very delicate; the actions that we will adopt now is to make sure that we smoke out every single criminal in this country.

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“We hope that with you people’s prayers, we can be able to achieve much through many actions that I know are going to be taken.”

Matawalle debunked claims in some quarters that the government was negotiating with criminals.

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“In military operations, there is a kinetic and non-kinetic approach,” he added. 

“In a non-kinetic approach, for example, the community has to be involved, just like what happened in the Niger Delta.”

Matawalle added that the bandits were not faceless, pointing out that people know them.

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