The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has signed into law a bill prescribing death sentences for bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, cultists and other criminals, as part of his administration’s efforts to end insecurity in the state.
The governor also banned all political activities, including gatherings and rallies in the state pending the official commencement of electioneering as encapsulated in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2023 election timetable.
Matawalle, in a live broadcast in Gusau, said the death penalty for the criminals is contained in the 2022 Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences Law he personally signed on June 28, 2022.
In the new law, the governor said anyone found guilty of supporting or aiding banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other related offences in the state would face life imprisonment, 10 or 20 years in jail without an option of fine.
He said: “It becomes necessary for me to address you once more on the issue of security in our dear state. You may recall that following increased banditry attacks in some parts of the state from the month of June 2022, we found it imperative to institute new security measures to combat the situation effectively.
“Accordingly, I inaugurated four security-related committees to implement the latest security measures. Similarly, on the 28th of June, I assented to the bill on Prohibition and Punishment for Banditry, Cattle Rustling, Cultism, Kidnapping and Other Incidental Offences, 2022. The law provides a legal instrument for prosecuting banditry-related offenders.
“Based on the new law, anyone found guilty of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, cultism, or serving as a bandits’ informant is subject to the death penalty. Similarly, anyone found guilty of supporting in any manner the aforementioned offences faces a sentence of life in prison, 20 years in jail, or ten years in prison, without the option of a fine.”
He explained that despite efforts by his government to enforce the new security measures in order to tackle insecurity in the state, some people who he described as unscrupulous elements are bent on thwarting the efforts on the pretext of conducting political activities.
Matawalle added that it has become imperative for the state government to take necessary steps to stop those he termed unscrupulous elements from achieving their “nefarious objectives”.
“Accordingly, all political activities, including gatherings and rallies, are hereby banned. Political activities should only commence when campaigns start officially as outlined on the INEC timetable. Security forces are hereby instructed to deal with anyone found violating the order,” he added.
He, however, banned the riding of motorcycles from 8pm to 6am in Mareri, Damba, Tsunami, Tsauni, Barakallahu, Samaru, Gada Biyu and Janyau East following the recent incursion of bandits in some areas on the outskirts of Gusau, the state capital.