On Tuesday, Governor Dauda Lawal said that the government of Zamfara State have sufficient information to identify the federal agents responsible for the covert negotiations with bandits.
The governor had previously warned that the Federal Government had engaged in a covert conversation with the criminals, despite his repeated rejection of the idea.
Alhaji Mohammed Idris, the minister of information and national orientation, however, charged that the Zamfara government had politicised security.
The Governor, however, claimed to have evidence exposing some Federal Government agents participating in the conversations with bandits in Zamfara in a statement released on his behalf by Sulaiman Bala Idris, his spokesman.
He added that the State Government should have been thoroughly investigated by the Minister of Information before being attacked.
The statement read in parts: “We sought clarification from the Federal Government regarding the sneaky negotiations with bandits carried out by some of its agents without recourse to the State Government and heads of Security agencies in the State.
“We have facts and evidence on what had transpired between these agents of the Federal Government and the bandits during the negotiations in several places across Zamfara.
“It is disappointing that the information minister discredited our claim without verifying it first. What is expected of him as a professional is to collaborate with relevant authorities to substantiate the claim’s authenticity.
“Zamfara State Government respects protocol and established authority. We would not come out in the media to start exposing the names of the Federal Government agents involved in the covert dialogue with bandits.
“We want to clarify that those individuals leading secret negotiations with bandits in Zamfara are politicising insecurity, not the State Government.
“The Information Minister’s statement claiming that there were no negotiations between government officials and bandits in Zamfara requires further clarification. We have already exposed a few locations where such talks were held with bandits, such as Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Mun Haye, Ajah, Bawo, and Bagege.
“Negotiating with bandits in Zamfara is a grave mistake we cannot afford to make. It is not the solution to the problem and only encourages and emboldens the criminals. We urge the Federal Government to take a firm stance against such activities and investigate the motives of those who engage in them.”