The federal government Monday said none of its official is engaged in negotiation with any bandit or group of bandits in Zamfara state.
It however maintains its resolve to explore every available avenue that can lead to de-escalation of tension and bring back peace to communities ravaged by banditry.
The FG also said if communities decide to borrow a leaf from what has helped quench unrest in other parts of the country to engage in dialogue, it would not be in a haste to condemn such people-driven initiative.
Minister of Information and National Orientation Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi stated this Monday in a statement signed by deputy director, Press of the ministry, Suleiman Haruna, in response to allegations by the Zamfara state governor, Dauda Lawal that the federal government is secretly negotiating with terrorists in the state without his knowledge.
The governor had said he has reports that negotiations are being carried out with some terrorists in various local government areas in Zamfara state.
The governor called for a comprehensive investigation into what he calls “secretive” negotiations held with bandits in the state.
But Malagi expressed disappointment with the statement credited to Governor Lawal.
He said instead of the governor to “appreciate security agents and federal government institutions for the prompt effort to rescue the abducted students of the Federal University Gusau, he chose to play politics with the sensitive matter for cheap political goals. “
The Minister said federal government institutions are empowered by law to spring to action, with or without prompting, to ensure safe return of citizens illegally taken hostage, like in the case of these hapless students.
“The fact that details of such delicate operations are not revealed by the institutions responsible does not make it in any way surreptitious, as the Zamfara state government atrociously described this effort,” he said.