Nigeria's Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, has revealed why banditry flourishes in the Northwest subregion of the country.
Matawalle said the security situation is escalating because of conflict between entrepreneurs who are benefiting from the illegal business.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Matawalle said the banditry has its economy in the country.
“Conflict entrepreneurs don’t want insecurity to finish in this country. Many people in the North are part of the business.
“I call it business now because those selling drugs are part of it, those selling food, fuel and other essentials are all part of it.
“The informants get a lot from doing that. They are paid handsomely for that crime. So, they don’t want the evil to finish. Many people have keyed into the business,” he said.
Matawalle who is also the former governor of Zamfara State, said during his tenure, he realized that a bottle of coke was sold to bandits at the rate of N500 contrary to the N100 sold in the city.
“Also, when a bag of rice was sold for between N18,000 and N21,000 when it gets to the enclave of the bandits, it goes for as much as N80,000,” he added.
He further called for all stakeholders to put differences aside to fight against the security situation.
“If not for some actions I took when I was a governor, by this time, northern Nigeria would be in a big fire. Remember that I was the first governor in the whole North, who cut off the communication network in his state.
“I cut off the network to allow security agencies to go in and push out those criminals.
“I did that because there were many times that if our soldiers were going to do some operations before they reached the enclave of the bandit, the bandits would be informed.
“Their informants will inform them, so they normally ambush our soldiers, killing them," Matawalle added.