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Bandits Were Offered Money Not to Release Schoolgirls— says Governor Matawalle

Zamfara State Governor, Mr. Bello Matawalle, on Tuesday accused some alleged sponsors behind the abduction of almost 300 schoolgirls of a government secondary school in Jangebe of offering money to bandits to sabotage the negotiations for their release.

Addressing the freed pupils on Tuesday at the Government House, Gusau, the governor said: “While the state was in negotiation with abductors for the release of the schoolgirls, other persons offered money to the bandits to keep the girls in captivity.”

He added that he had given the information to the police and other security agencies to investigate the matter.

He said the abduction of the schoolgirls was mysterious and politically motivated, vowing to expose the sponsors.

“The actual number of confirmed abduction from the school’s register was 279, not 317 as earlier said by the police,” he clarified.

The governor said the abduction gave him four sleepless nights as he worked round the clock to ensure the safe return of the girls.

“I didn’t sleep for four days. We worked hard for days to ensure the safe return of the girls to their families.

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“(We are) using kinetic and non-kinetic approaches and the non-kinetic is working for us. If not, we wouldn’t have successfully negotiated the release of these girls,” the governor stated.

Matawalle added that the state did not pay any ransom for the release of the pupils.

Meanwhile, the state police command has promised to unravel those behind the abduction.

According to a statement on Tuesday by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Bello Shehu, a Superintendent of Police, detectives from the state CID, headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Investigation, have begun interrogating the pupils with a view to unravelling the circumstances behind their abduction.

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