By Bashir Bello
President Muhammadu Buhari has on Wednesday promised victims and Internally Displaced Persons from activities of the Armed bandits in the state that government will flush out and eliminate perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
The President said himself, the Governor’s, Emirs down to other leaders at various levels sleep and wake up with ill feelings of the series of attacks meted on the people by the bandits.
Buhari stated this when he carried out a sympathy visit to victims of the bandit’s attacks from the eight front line local government areas of Katsina state at the IDP camp in Batsari local government area of the State.
The President was also quick to say informants in the communities are sabotaging efforts of authorities in the fight against banditry.
“Killers or perpetrators of the evil act shouting “Allahu Akbar” and killing people in North East are liars. God is not wicked. You cannot carry weapons to kill the innocent soul and say Allahu Akbar meaning Allah is great, it is either you are not His follower or you don’t know the meaning of what you are saying.
“There is a saying that there has to be the help of an insider before you are defeated or attacked. Among you, your neighbours and brothers, there are those who are aware of the coming of the bandits to launch an attack on you but fail to tell you neither did they tell the authorities to prevent the occurrence.
“These people, since we don’t know them neither do you know them, it is only God who knows them. We will continue to tell God to expose them.
“We are trying out best. I am here to sympathize with you over the tragedy that befell us as a whole not you alone and pray that God rewards you above those who betrayed you.
“I can assure you that from myself down to the leaders at various levels, we sleep and wake up with ill feelings with the activities of the bandits. By God’s grace, we will use the soldiers, police and other government apparatus to eliminate them,” President Buhari said.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said sporadic banditry attacks still occur in eight frontline local government areas of the state and has been directly or indirectly linked with the bandits camps in Zamfara state noting that after the August 1st, 2019 stakeholders meeting convened by the Inspector General of Police in Katsina to arrest the lingering crisis especially in the Northwest zone, there was a resolution for another meeting which is slated to hold in Zamfara state.
Masari said the large expanse of the Forest Reserve has given the bandits the latitude to unleash attacks and change locations swiftly.
“As a result of this lingering crisis especially in the Northwest Zone, the Inspector General of Police convened a stakeholder meeting in Katsina on 1st August 2019.
“With a seeming success of the interactive session, a follow-up meeting of officials of the affected states and identified Fulani forest commanders was agreed to hold a week later (i.e 8th August 2019), again in Katsina. The meeting held without the presence of the forest commanders but only the Fulani representatives that could not take decisions or give assurances on behalf of the forest commanders. Nonetheless, discussions at the meeting clearly revealed that all banditry attacks in the Northwest have direct or indirect links with the bandit’s camps in Zamfara state. A strong resolution was agreed to, therefore, that the next meeting is held in Gusau, Zamfara State and if possible chaired by the Governor, while emissaries have been sent to the identified forest commanders to personally attend without any form of representation. In the meantime, sporadic banditry attacks still occur in these front line local government areas of Katsina State,” Masari said.
The Governor, however, commended the Federal government for its efforts towards addressing the deteriorating security situation with the establishment of the 17 brigades of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force Forward Operation Base, stationing the Inspector General of Police Special team under Operation Puff Adder all aimed to restore peace in the area.
“The recent deployment of additional security personnel and equipment to this area has led to a drastic reduction in the frequency of attacks. But there are still sporadic attacks with attendant kidnap and cattle rustling incidents,” Governor Masari however said.