Bello Matawalle, Zamfara governor, says the state was a den of bandits under the leadership of the All Progressives Congress.
Matawalle said this in reaction to a statement credited to Yekini Nabena, APC deputy spokesman.
Abdulaziz Yari, former governor of Zamfara and member of the APC, was governor of the state at the time there were high cases of banditry.
Nabena had said a governor in the north-west was sponsoring bandits in the region.
But in a statement on Thursday, Zailani Bappa, media aide to Matawalle, quoted the governor describing the accusation as “unfounded”.
Bappa said the governor spent most of his time ensuring that the schoolboys abducted from a secondary school in Kankara, Katsina, regained their freedom.
“Governor Matawalle, who has dedicated the whole of his precious time and efforts in the last 100 hours to ensure the release of these innocent children was taken aback when immediately after their release, a statement in the media credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC accuses him of harbouring bandits who terrorise the north-west,” he said.
“This is incidentally a similar statement credited to the Katsina State Governor Hon Aminu Bello Masari sometimes ago when in a similar effort, Governor Matawalle rescued 26 innocent girls abducted by bandits in Faskari local government area of the same Katsina state.
“Although Governor Bello Mohammed has resisted temptation to join issues with anyone on these developments, the unfounded accusations are becoming one too many. To correct this jaundiced perception, therefore, the records need to be straightened once and for all.
“It is a known fact that Zamfara State under the APC was the worst hit in terms of banditry in the north-west until the coming of Governor Bello Mohammed on board.”
The aide said it is uncharitable to assume that Zamfara is harbouring criminals because it is relatively enjoying peace.
“It is very uncharitable due to political differences to attribute the semblance of peace enjoyed in Zamfara state to criminality of harbouring the bandits to terrorise neighbouring states,” he said.
“It is heart-warming to note that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari is quite in tune with every step being taken by Governor Matawalle and has more than once, commended him for the measures he’s been taking to end banditry in the state,” he said.
“Governor Bello Mohammed wishes to inform the general public that his ‘carrot and Stick’ approach to dealing with the bandits has succeeded in the recent past by settling with those who accepted the deal and has dealt with the recalcitrant ones leading to the elimination of over 300 bandits in only two months.”
Bappa said the governor is calling on all stakeholders in the north-west to work towards ensuring that the region is peaceful.