Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle says no ransom was paid to secure the release of the over 300 abducted students of the Government Secondary School in the Jangebe area of the state.
He stated this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“There is nothing in exchange for the release; we use those (bandits) that are repented. When we use them, they engage them and I said they should ask them why they did that?” he asked.
“Some of these guys did not accept our peace accord, they are many. Some of them even refused to show their faces to the government. But those that have a good intention of repenting and coming back to society, they are working with the security agencies to make sure that the state is safe.”
When asked how he felt about the release of the schoolgirls, the governor said he was extremely happy with the release of the students.
He explained that his administration received the students after engaging the bandits, noting that he lost sleep within the period.
“I am very happy with the situation; I can’t measure how happy I was at that moment. On that very day, I did not sleep because they left Gusau around 11 am in the morning to the area where the children were kept.
“They did not come back to the state capital till after 4 am in the morning which we were all waiting for them in the Government House,” he added.
The governor noted that most of the former bandits were tired of indulging in criminal activities, recalling that upon his assumption into office, his administration had a stakeholders meeting to provide social amenities to them.
One of such, he noted, was to create shelter for them where they would be engaged in cattle rearing in one confined place, rather than moving about.
“These Fulani, most of them are tired of doing that business. They are tired of it. Sometimes, it is because of their request.
“I have a concept which I am doing in the state called RUGA which will make some settlement for all of them with their grazing reserves, water canal, markets, mosques, schools and hospitals.
“They are very happy with that initiative that they can be in one place. The aim of doing that is to maintain them in one place,” he stated.
The governor’s remarks come a week after gunmen stormed the Jangebe School and abducted the schoolgirls in their scores.
The school which is located within the Talata-Mafara local government area of the state came under siege at past midnight on February 26.
However, the students regained their freedom on March 2 after spending about four days in captivity.