By Bashir Bello, Katsina
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has told officers of the Nigerian Army not to spare recalcitrant bandits who failed or breach peace dialogue initiative in place to end insecurity bedevilling the state.
Masari made the call during an interface with military top brass led by Chief Defence Training and Operations, Major General Leo Irabor who visited the Governor at the General Muhammadu Buhari government house in Katsina State.
The Governor, however, advocated for peace dialogue without bullet or force to end all forms of insecurity bedevilling the nation but said some recalcitrant bandits might want to sabotage the effort noting that they should be dealt with to serve as a deterrent to others.
According to him, “We chose to peace and dialogue with the recalcitrant Nigerians to see how best we can achieve peace without firing a bullet. This is what we are doing here and the military formations are giving us all the necessary support to make sure that we arrive at an acceptable level of peace and harmony among communities.
“Why we have first chosen peace and dialogue is because people fighting themselves are neighbours, it was initially between farmers and herders. Gradually, it has developed to between herders and herders because they are stealing from themselves.
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So what we are doing is uniting neighbours who are hitherto enemies and today they patronize the same market, attend funerals and functions of each other as they use to do. And gradually, we believe normalcy is returning. Still, there is suspicion on the part of herders and sedentary Fulanis who are farmers. So most of the people living around the forest are sedentary Fulani’s.
“In the period of transition, from violence to peace there are challenges. These are the challenges we are facing on daily basis. There are also criminals monitoring whatever you do to sabotage the effort and contrary to the norms. My position is simple, all those recalcitrant bandits should not be spared.
We went out to say they should embrace peace and dialogue, so anybody who breaches the initiative before the time we concluded should be dealt with so that the right message is sent to others,” Masari stated.
The Governor called for the training and equipping of the people to meet up with quick and rapid response to avoid overstretching of the military.
“I think we have to start thinking about how do we really equip and train the police or the mobile armed police to be in the position to be responding to civil issues like this.
“We are overstretching the military, we are exposing the military too much to the extent that too much contact with civilians certainly will affect one way or the other negatively member of the Armed Forces. So if we can equip our mobile to see how we can deal with this situation before reaching the level which the military has to come in. If we do that we may not necessarily need the military. Other than maybe backdrop support in terms of training and other things,” Governor Masari however said.