Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, said on Friday that the government would set up a N50 billion fund to support victims of banditry, especially orphans and widows.

The governor said a foundation will be set up to manage the funds in line with the recommendations of the committee established to find solutions to banditry and other security challenges in the state.

Matawalle who made the commitment while receiving the committee’s report in Gusau said the foundation would be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2020.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman of the Committee and former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Abubakar presented the report which covered June 2011 to May 29, 2019.

In the report, the committee said a total of 4,983 women were widowed, 25,050 children orphaned and 190,340 persons displaced by banditry over the period.

It added that innocent Fulani herdsmen lost 2,015 cattle, 141 sheep and goats, 2,600 donkeys and camels to rustlers while 147,800 vehicles, motorcycles and others were burnt at different times and locations within the period.

Matawalle said, “I commend the foresight of the committee members for recommending to my administration to launch a N50 billion orphans and widows foundation.

“I will discuss these important recommendations with President Muhammad Buhari with a view of launching the foundation in the first quarter of 2020.”

The Zamfara governor said the foundation would have a board of trustees whose members shall be honest and credible Nigerians with impeccable character and indisputable record of selfless service.

He said that 6,319 men and women were killed within the period leaving behind orphans and widows, adding that the government must take care of the education of 25,050 orphans as well as its other responsibilities to the victims.

The governor also commented on other recommendations of the committee.

“I am very glad about the agricultural and other empowerment programmes that the committee recommended.

“Unless and until states and federal governments provide necessary support and assistance to empower individuals and groups, provide soft loanable funds to finance small and medium enterprises that are capable of addressing the ever growing unemployment rate, whatever peace we may achieve can be short lived in the country.”

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