GOVERNOR Bello Matawalle on Tuesday signed the anti-banditry and other related offences bill into law. The law which comes into force with immediate effect, has death penalty for those found guilty of banditry and other related offences in Zamfara.
Speaking shortly after signing the bill, Matawalle said the law formed part of measures to tackle banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Zamfara.
The law: Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences, 2022 was passed by the state legislature on Monday.
He said the law was part of the government series of effort to address the nagging challenge of banditry and associated crimes in the state.
“Today, we have signed the bill on Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences, 2022.
“You may recall that yesterday (Monday) I inaugurated four security-related committees, as part of our counter-banditry initiatives.
“Formation of the committees is aimed at ensuring the effective implementation of the security measures being taken to end the over-decade-old banditry and other security-related challenges,” he said.
The governor said he had earlier signed Executive Orders 7, 8,9, and 10, that provided the legal instruments and operational guidelines for the committees.
According to him, the most fundamental focus of governance anywhere in the world is security.
Matawalle further said that his government would go to any length within the law, to secure the state and restore peace in the communities.
“Zamfara State, under my watch, will continue to explore all possible remedies to our plight.
“Those making insinuations about our decision to support the right of community members to self-defence against ruthless attacks by bandits ought to take into consideration the scale of the problem we are facing.
“They should take into account the plight of the innocent people who are maimed, killed, and kidnapped every day in various parts of the state,” he added.
The governor said the state Community Protection Guards were not different from the Civilian Joint Taskforce (JTF) in Borno and Amotekun in the South-West sub-region.
“Our move is particularly significant considering the fact that there is currently no part of the country that is not facing one form of insecurity or the other.
“Our conventional security forces are operating in various theatres ranging from southeast to southwest, northeast to north central, heroically battling with varying degrees of security challenges.
“They are not only overstretched but also lack enough modern equipment to prosecute counter-banditry and insurgency warfare effectively,” he said.
He said that similar move by the Zamfara Government aimed to complement the efforts of the security forces, “with the ultimate goal of totally defeating the miscreants”.
The new law, according to him, will serve as a legal instrument for prosecuting banditry-related offenders.
The new law provides that any person found guilty of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, cultism or being an informant to the bandits is liable to the death penalty.
It also provides that anyone found guilty of aiding and abetting the crimes would be liable to life imprisonment, 20 years’ imprisonment, or 10 years imprisonment, without an option of fine.
Matawalle commended the legislature for keeping up with its constitutional responsibility of making laws to secure the state.
“We equally thank the Federal Government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for its consistent support and cooperation to Zamfara State to achieve the desired end,” he said.