How Tinubu’s Minister Designate Donated 15 Hilux Vehicles, Millions Of Naira To Bandits

In a recent development, Bello Matawalle, a nominee for ministerial position by President Bola Tinubu, has come under scrutiny for his actions during his tenure as the governor of Zamfara state from 2019 to 2023.

One particular incident that has drawn attention is Matawalle’s donation of around 15 brand new Hilux vehicles to leaders of ‘repentant’ bandits in the state.

This move has sparked a debate on the effectiveness of such measures in addressing the security challenges prevalent in the region. Critics argue that rewarding individuals associated with criminal activities sends a troubling message and could potentially undermine efforts to combat crime and restore law and order.

The Senate has recently confirmed the appointments of 45 ministerial nominees, including Bello Matawalle.

However, the confirmation of three nominees has been temporarily put on hold pending security clearances by the DSS. The nominees affected by this delay are Nasir El-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna State, Sani Danladi, a former senator from Taraba, and Stella Okotete, a nominee from Delta State.

Meanwhile, despite the controversy surrounding his actions as the governor, Bello Matawalle’s nomination for a ministerial position has been accepted.

In 2021, it was reported how the Matawalle gave brand new Hilux vehicles to some ‘repentant’ bandits.

According to the multiple sources, the bandits used some of the vehicles given to them by the former governor for operations.

Some of the beneficiaries were Na Shama, Sani Shaidan, Mohammadu Bello Halilu and Bage Waye. Other bandit kingpins who got the vehicles were identified as Kachalla, Ado, Busniya, Dunbulu and Gajere.

It was also revealed that the former governor approved millions of naira to be given to the ‘repentant’ bandits as compensation.

The Zamfara State government under Matawalle in 2019 entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.

But despite the accord, communities in the state were frequently attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.

“Those bandits have different groups, 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,” a top military officer familiar with the negotiation had told SaharaReporters.

“On Sunday (in 2021), 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 North-Western region of Nigeria, including Zamfara state, has been grappling with a relentless wave of violent attacks orchestrated by armed bandits for several years. The severity of these assaults has prompted urgent actions to address the ongoing menace.

A dedicated committee, led by Mohammed Abubakar, a former Inspector General of Police, was established to delve into the alarming rise of armed banditry in the area. Their findings shed light on the grim toll inflicted upon Zamfara State. The committee’s report revealed that during the period spanning from June 2011 to May 2019, the impact of armed banditry was nothing short of devastating.

Tragically, 4,983 women were left widowed, grappling with the sudden loss of their partners. The ripple effect of these attacks on families was profound, leaving 25,050 innocent children orphaned, their futures cast into uncertainty. Moreover, the violence forced more than 190,000 individuals to flee their homes, as their communities became battlegrounds for banditry-related conflicts.