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Garba Shehu clarifies statement on Katsina, Zamfara traditional rulers aiding bandits

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GARBA Shehu, the presidential spokesperson has clarified that he was referring to ‘low level traditional rulers’ in Katsina and Zamfara states’ when he submitted that some traditional heads were aiding banditry in some northern states.

Shehu who made the comment on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme on Monday morning took to his official Twitter page to explain what he meant.

“In my @channelstv appearance this morning, I referred to cases of some low level traditional rulers in Katsina State and the neighboring Zamfara where more of such leaders including Emirs were flushed out of the system for being found to be in unholy alliances with bandits,” he said.

The presidential aide said his words were misconstrued as he only referred to a certain class of traditional rulers.

 “Under the leadership of their Highnesses, the Emirs of Katsina and Daura, traditional rulers in the state have continued to support security and law enforcement agencies in tackling the problems of kidnapping and banditry that reared their heads in the state,” he said.

Shehu had earlier said, “It is not that we are making direct accusations on anyone but it is also true that even in the president’s native state of Katsina, some traditional rulers have been found complicit in collaboration with the bandits to harm their own people.”

“When, however, a few bad eggs are discovered and made an example of, as is bound to happen, that is to show good leadership by the Emirs, who sit on top of the pack and the state governments.”

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Shehu in his Twitter post also offered prayers for traditional rulers whom he pointed out paid the supreme price while protecting their people.

Meanwhile, Bulama Bukarti, a Boko Haram expert and analyst at Tony Blair Institute in a Twitter message dismissed Shehu’s claims.

According to him, some traditional rulers and residents have completely lost confidence in government after years of massacre and vowed down to the bandits by meeting their demands.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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