The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, has raised alarm about the relocation of hungry bandits, driven to the fringes, to communities to steal farm products ahead of the upcoming harvest season
The governor raised the alarm on Tuesday at a consultative briefing he held with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on the security situation in the state.
As reported by the News Agency of Nigeria, the briefing was attended by Heads of security agencies in the state, traditional rulers, political and religious leaders, civil society groups and other stakeholders.
Masari said, “Because of hunger, bandits are moving towards communities around the forest area. They know that harvest time is approaching and their plan is to harvest crops and steal food items planted by farmers.”
He noted that the bandits had been driven to the fringes in the state as a result of measures put in place, including suspension of mobile telecommunication networks and ban of the sale of petroleum products in many filling stations.
He charged the security chiefs, who were in attendance at the briefing, to wake up to the call and deal decisively with the criminals, reiterating his position not to negotiate with bandits whom he described as criminals who were neither fighting for a religious or ideological cause.
Masari disclosed that the states most affected by banditry had resolved to engage no fewer than 3,000 hunters and vigilantes who would be trained by the Police to protect communities.
He said Katsina would recruit 500 hunters and vigilantes — 250 each from Katsina and Daura Emirates — to protect communities from bandit attacks, explaining that the hunters and vigilantes would be stationed permanently in the communities to protect people and their property.
The Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Kabir Usman, commended the Governor for the innovative ways in containing the insecurity in the state.
The traditional ruler, who said he was against dialogue and negotiation with bandits, enjoined the Minister of Information and Culture to sustain the initiative of providing a positive narrative on the fight against insecurity in the country.
The Emir, who kicked against negotiations and dialogue with bandits, as well as payment of ransom, called on security forces to step up a military campaign against the criminals.