A former Chairman of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abubakar Maradun, who accused Governor Bello Matawalle of supplying vehicles to repentant bandits has gone into hiding following threats to his life, SaharaReporters has gathered.
The newspaper had exposed how 15 brand new Hilux vehicles and cash gifts were given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ banditry groups by Matawalle.
“Those bandits have different group, so if they say they repent, the governor will give them a Hilux vehicle; unfortunately, they are now using the vehicles to carry out attacks,” a military source told SaharaReporters.
“It’s so sad, he called it a peace and reconciliation programme, but all you need to be rich now in Zamfara is to take up arms against the people.”
SaharaReporters also revealed the names of some of the repentant bandits who got the vehicles.
They include Na Shama, Sani Shaidan, Mohammadu Bello Halilu and Bage Waye.
Other beneficiaries are identified as Kachalla, Ado, Busniya, Dunbulu and Gajere.
Nura Ibrahim Zarumi, State Commissioner for Justice, however claimed the publication had disgraced the government but refused to deny the story’s authenticity.
Confirming the report, Maradun told The PUNCH that an attack on Janbako community was facilitated by three new Hilux vans the bandits got from the government.
The former council boss revealed that the bandits, who besieged the community in their hundreds, met stiff resistance from the villagers, forcing them to retreat and abandon one of the vehicles containing three rifles and assorted ammunition.
A source told SaharaReporters that Maradun started receiving calls and SMS text messages from unknown persons threatening to kill him after his statement.
He added that the former council boss ‘disappeared’ as a result of these threats.
“His life is in danger currently. They threatened to kill him within a week. Even his family members don’t know where he is hiding now and they’re searching for him everywhere. He has switched off his phone, so no way to connect him,” the source said.