Insecurity: Bandits must be uprooted from north-west, north-central ― Masari

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State on Wednesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him on the security situation in his state, telling State House correspondents afterwards that to defeat the bandits terrorizing people in the north-west and north-central is a task that must be done.

He said they must be stopped to prevent them from morphing into something else.

The governor noted that the military has set up two supper camps in the state to give them enough leverage to root out the criminals.

However, he observed that the raining season has become a snag in the war against the bandits as soft soil prevents the quick deployment of heavy military machinery.

However, he was confident that the situation remains under control, assuring that life will soon return to normal for those affected.

Speaking on his discussion with President Buhari, he said: “Secondly for anybody coming from the north-west part of Nigeria, especially from my part of north-west, the issue today is about security.

“We took more than 30 minutes discussing the current situation and what needs to be done is being done and, so far, the situation is under control in Katsina and I believe in most part of the north-west, but it is not over until it is over and we have discussed extensively and offered our own suggestions and those of us who are on the ground and that is actually what we discussed with the president.”

On the factors militating against them the speedy resolution of the security crisis, he explained: “Northwestern part of the country where these bandits are and the north-central is a vast forest area and unfriendly terrain.

“So, it is essentially now during the rainy season, moving with heavy military equipment can be very challenging because the soil is soft and the rains are heavy but it is doable.

“No situation is impossible especially to a willing and determined mind. I do believe we can conquer these bandits and stop them from hibernating into something else.”

The Katsina governor also proffered ways to best tackle the lingering insecurity and achieving sustainable peace in the areas, saying: “I think first of all the aspect of non-kinetic measures, what we are waiting for the military is to take over total control of the lands areas, then state and local governments can now move in especially in the area of education, then access, then water supply.

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“Then their means of livelihood which mainly is agriculture and livestock, and for us in Katsina, we have concluded all our designs but we cannot safely get access to where we can make reservations in terms of earth dams

“We have already earmarked 30 areas which we are going to reconstruct water systems that have broken down, and some that are new in other to provide watering points, but we cannot access the land as at today

“And again, we are reintroducing the grazing areas and we have concluded plans. We have partners that are willing and ready to partner with us but we have to get the land back in total peace because nobody will go and invest where security is not tight, but with the current operations going on, I am sure before the end of this rainy season we will have a very conducive atmosphere and free areas that our people can go back to normal life

“Today, what we have on the ground in terms of people displaced as IDPs are mainly from only two local government, Faskari and Batsari. We are sure before the month ends, the rest of the people will go back to their villages and continue with their normal life.”

Masari affirmed that the activities of bandits are affecting farming in the areas where they are active.

He further said: “Obviously, it will affect some areas, but certainly there is going to be some issues because, in the entire state, nine local governments are affected out of 34, and even in the nine local government affected are villages and areas that are bordering the forests. So, not all the local governments.

“So. really I think there is going to be some drawbacks in some of the areas but on a general note, the (farming) season looks good and we are hoping that we will have a bumper harvest.”



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