Bello Matawalle, Governor of Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, on Friday, said a Nigerian soldier had been arrested for alleged connivance with terrorists attacking communities in the state.
Matawalle who was represented by his deputy chief of staff, Bashir Maru, at a press conference, said the soldier, alongside his girlfriend, were recently caught supplying arms and military fatigues to the terrorists.
“The military recently arrested an army officer and his girlfriend who were engaged in assisting bandits with military uniforms and ammunition in active connivance with other saboteurs. This arrest was only made possible through community-driven intelligence,” Maru said.
“While the state government awaits the action the military will take on this matter and make an official statement, the development has further proved the position of Governor Bello Mohammed that unless the fight against banditry is cleansed of bad eggs and saboteurs, we may not record the desired success in the fight.”
“Let me use this medium to salute the courage and patriotism of the individual who came forward with information that led to the arrest of these traitors. Our gratitude knows no bounds.”
According to Premium Times, the Governor, through his deputy, did not provide any further detail, saying the state government was waiting for the military authorities to do so.
However, the government said a probe into the matter had been initiated as police and other security agencies had been let in on the matter.
Efforts to contact Onyema Nwachukwu and Mohammed Yerima, spokespersons for Defence Headquarters and Nigerian Army respectively for comments were unsuccessful as calls and text messages to their mobile phones were not returned.
Terror activities in the state have been on the rise lately despite the government’s purported peace deal with the terrorists.
The frequency of their attacks and kidnappings in the state and the northwestern region as a whole, has become increasingly worrisome, raising questions about where the terror groups are sourcing their heavy weapons.
In the recent abduction of 279 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the state, the victims described how the terrorists, dressed in military fatigues, were heavily armed.
They were said to have botched a military checkpoint just some metres away from the school’s location.
While some have berated the governor’s peace-deal approach with the terrorists, the governor has maintained it has been productive in reducing violence in the state but alleges sabotage to the initiative by some individuals.
He once said the latest abduction of the schoolgirls was politically motivated.
“While the state was in negotiation with (the) abductors for the release of the schoolgirls, other persons offered money to the armed bandits to keep the girls in captivity,” the governor said.