Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, Thursday held meeting with delegates of bandits threatening the eight forefront neighborhood government territories in the state with the end goal of finding a perpetual answer for the unremitting assaults and kidnappings in the state.
The meeting convened by the governor, had in attendance the heads of security agencies, the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Manir Yakubu, traditional rulers and districts heads led by the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Kabir Usman; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa; Transition Committee Chairmen of the affected frontline local government areas, representatives of Miyetti Allah and the Fulani herdsmen.
The talks held on the same day the federal government put the death toll from banditry at 1,460 in 330 attacks within the last seven months.
Masari, who spoke in Hausa, warned that the insecurity rocking the affected LGAs has become embarrassing to both the state government and President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also an indigene of the state, adding: “Enough is enough.”
He restated the commitment of his government to deploy all resources in dealing decisively and ruthlessly with banditry and kidnapping in the state.
The meeting, according to the governor, is expected to be of great impact towards restoring peace not only in the affected local government areas but also the entire 34 local government areas in the state.
He added that the security of lives and property of the people lies not only in the hands of government or security personnel alone but also everyone.
He said: “We are ready to dialogue with the bandits and are ready to go anywhere they invite us, because we are not afraid to meet anybody to end this problem.
“As a leader, I must find the solution to the problem so that if today I die, I know how to defend myself before God. I will not allow this to continue. Enough is enough.
“I have directed the security operatives to take all necessary measures to change the narrative on insecurity in the state, by any means necessary.’’
In his contribution, the emir said the fight against banditry and kidnapping, though challenging, required collective efforts.
He appealed to the state House of Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the bill on death sentence for cattle rustling and kidnapping. Meanwhile, the federal government yesterday said about 330 attacks by bandits and 1,460 deaths were recorded within the last seven months in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Amina Shamaki, gave the figures at the opening ceremony of federal and states security administrators’ meeting in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State capital. The permanent secretary, however, said the attacks had been on the decline.
She said the North-west, which used to be one of the most peaceful zones of the country, had in the last few years, witnessed attacks by bandits.
Shamaki said the security situation in the zone remained a source of concern to the security agencies and the general populace.
“From January to July, 2019, about 330 attacks were recorded, resulting in the death of about 1,460 civilians.
“However, between June and July, 2019, the number of incidents declined, especially in Zamfara State, that had been the epicentre of armed banditry,” she said.
Shamaki also attributed the decline to the combination of both kinetic and non- kinetic measures put in place by the government.
“The dialogue initiated by the current Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, in particular and the other governors in the zone is worthy of commendation and should be adopted by states with similar security challenges.
“Application of the carrot-and-stick approach is an effective strategy that enables criminals willing to embrace peace to do so while repentant ones are identified and isolated for appropriate actions by the security agencies,” she said.
According to her, while bandits’ attacks have reduced in Zamfara, they have risen in the contiguous states. Shamaki, therefore, stressed the need for vigilance and close monitoring of the repentant bandits by security agencies to prevent them from going back to the trenches.
“Another security concern is the porosity of our borders. The borders aided smuggling of small arms and light weapons from war-torn zones, including Libya and Central Africa Republic, terrorism, cross-border crimes, human trafficking, irregular migration and smuggling of migrants, among others.
“The federal government is doing a lot to improve border security with a view to addressing some of these challenges,” she said.
The permanent secretary appealed to states that share borders with the country’s neighbours to support the government’s efforts by enlightening their subjects on the implication of harbouring irregular migrants and other aliens in their midst.
In his remarks, the state Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, thanked the security agencies and judiciary in the state for contributing to make the state peaceful and a model for other states.
“It doesn’t matter if one state is peaceful while others are not, we should collapse the silos that divide us; embrace and understand each other in order to help ourselves in the provision of security in this country,” he added.