June 1, 2024

How village head collected N700,000 bribe from bandits, allowed invasion, killing of 30 villagers

kingship title in Yorubaland

File image of bandits.

We arrested him, 364 others, killed 35, and rescued 565 kidnap victims – Katsina Gov. Diko Radda

By Omeiza Ajayi

When the Katsina State Governor, Dr Umaru Dikko Radda recently described banditry as a business venture for some highly placed individuals in the country, some felt the governor of the Northwestern State was merely exaggerating issues out of context.

But he didn’t stop there as he also said poverty and injustice are major factors fuelling insecurity in the country.

At an interface with Saturday Vanguard sometime in October last year, Dr Radda had said with his newly launched Katsina Community Watch Corps, he was determined to rid the state of banditry.

Recalling how bandits had killed his biological brother, the governor said he wouldn’t spare anyone, including state appointees who connive with Fifth Columnists to destabilize the state.

He said: “In our efforts, we have come up with the intelligence unit within the Katsina Community Watch Corps. This intelligence unit, even the Corps members don’t know them. The reason for setting it up is to check the excesses of the Corps and also to gather information.

“There are some traditional rulers who are identified and those ones are already under scrutiny. So, we are not sparing anybody even commissioners in my regime, we are not going to spare anybody found to be involved in one criminal activity or the other. We are talking about the lives of over 10 million people not one single individual. No single individual is more important than 10 million people or the lives of an innocent person in the village. We are trying as much as possible to gather a lot of information together with the intelligence we are getting from the DSS so that we can build a network that we can arrest and prosecute any person found wanting”.

Seven months later when Saturday Vanguard took him up on the issue, the governor who gave an account of his stewardship in the last year, explained how a village head was paid N700,000 by bandits, to allow free access to his village, and the consequent killing of about 30 of his subjects.

He said his administration was fiercely addressing poverty having discovered how it fuels insecurity. According to him, it was disheartening that for as little as N2,000, some persons would volunteer information to bandits about their neighbours or relatives.

On the village head, the governor said; “I will say yes, that we have arrested a village head in Guga village in Bakori local government of the state because of his involvement with the bandits.

“He was given N700,000 to allow bandits access into his village to kill over 30 people.

“The government deployed so many approaches but the notable ones are the kinetic and non-kinetic approaches and within, there are tangible approaches that have gone a long way in tackling security problems”.

Gov. Radda who said some of his statements had been misrepresented, said; “I hold the security agencies in high esteem because they too are being killed daily in their pursuit to curb the insecurity in the state. But the point is, there is no set category of people who are not involved in this. What are we hiding here? Who was not arrested? Different categories of people were arrested on allegations of being involved in banditry, criminality, and many other vices even here in Katsina.

“I don’t know why people should be bothering themselves with why I said this other than the fact that some people want to fuel it. I still maintain that different categories of people, whether in government or anywhere, are involved. That is because there are several arrests and security reports we have. Even in prisons now, you will see the people we arrested from the security operatives, government officials, and traditional rulers.

“But the issue we should understand is that we have bad eggs, good people everywhere, but we can’t get away from the bad ones, and bad eggs are with us. Why should we be here and then you hear the information from the discussion we had after an hour or 30 minutes? Someone from those people who attended the meeting must have leaked the information.

“You must ask yourself who told them that. It is not rocket science but logic. We don’t want to tell the truth because we don’t want to get to the root of the problem. We are shielding ourselves from the consequences of wrongdoing. We must tell ourselves the truth. We have to examine ourselves. No organization doesn’t have bad eggs in it. We should deal with it so that we get out of it.

“But, when we keep hiding things that we don’t want to blackmail, it continues and there will be no time that it will end. So, it is high time we told ourselves the truth. When we do that, we will correct it. Somebody can challenge me for doing something wrong, and that may be the basis for my correction. Why should we be hiding things from ourselves? And that is one of the major problems affecting this country”, he declared.

On how far his administration has been able to tackle insecurity in the state, Dr Radda said 35 bandits were neutralized by the state joint security taskforce in the last year.
At the same time, 363 bandits were arrested and subjected to the state’s fair judicial system, while 565 kidnap victims were successfully rescued.