By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
Wazirin Katsina and a former member of the Presidential Committee on Insecurity Prof San Lugga has said that strong banditry and insurgency activities in Katsina state have led to the closure of all schools and other institutions in eight local government areas of the state.
He also explained that there was no day in the last two and a half years in Katsina state that somebody was not killed or abducted, describing the situation as a state of war, and not a conflict.
The Wazirin Katsina made this revelation in Ilorin, Kwara state capital on Monday at a strategic management retreat organised by Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR).
The theme of the retreat is “Repositioning IPCR for sustainable peace, security and national integration.”
Prof Lugga noted that all the district heads of the eight local government areas had relocated to Katsina, no thanks to banditry and insurgency.
He also said that two major roads in the state had also been closed to vehicular movement due to the activities of bandits.
“There is no single day in the last two and half years that somebody will not be killed or abducted in the state. It is really a state of war. It is more than conflict,” he stressed.
Prof Lugga who said that he had been a member of no fewer than 48 presidential committees on insecurity in the country, lamented that only one out of the committees’ recommendations had been implemented.
He also identified poverty and unemployment; out of school children; proliferation of light arms and ammunition; corruption; poor police welfare and misuse of religion as some of the causes of insecurity in the country.
He recommended the use of war contractors to end banditry and insurgency in the country.
Said he: “For the first time to the best of my knowledge, recommendation on the presidential community on insecurity was implemented by President Goodluck Jonathan. That was why elections went on peacefully in Borno state in 2015 without bloodshed.
“The committee members worked tirelessly. We made contact with the key Boko Haram commanders minus Shekau who refused to key into the programme.
“After successful consultation, they agreed to a ceasefire. What we did was to agree with the commanders in Kaduna, Kano and all the states where Boko Haram was operating.
“Then we wrote a letter to Shekau through one of his commandants who gave him facts and figures in Islam to dialogue with the then President Jonathan. What we did then was to ensure that Shekau was pushed to Sambisa forest which ensured peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections.
“The war contractors (mercenaries) we contracted helped to put Shekau in place. Unfortunately, the current government has refused to use war contractors. Even the United States of America used mercenaries in Afghanistan.”
Also speaking, Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama represented by Ambassador Samson Itegboye urged IPCR to partner with the state to establish peace agencies.
Chief Onyeama said that “I will like to encourage states to set up state peace agents. Currently, there are three states Plateau, Kaduna and Adamawa that have established peace agencies and commissions to address communal conflicts and the role of insurgents.
These strategies in my view, offer a precautionary approach to tackling root causes of violence. The hope of a stable Africa is hinged on Nigeria being a major player in the continent. To play the role very well we need to restructure our country on the path of sustainable peace.
“traditional rulers play pivotal roles in settling community disputes and conflicts which are the major causes of security threat bedevilling our country today. The partnership with the National Assembly is apt in that everyone in the country is represented in the National Assembly through their representatives in both the Senate and House of Representatives, making the zonal intervention project a strategic avenue through which a strategically designed and implement projects to build capacity and empower traditional rulers and all community stakeholders to strictly community peacekeeping structures and foster peaceful coexistence across the country,” he said.