Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari yesterday lamented the nefarious activities of armed bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in the state, revealing that his administration “gives security operatives monthly allowances of over N100 million to fight security challenges.”
Masari, however, warned his critics and oppositions that the current security challenges in the state should not be politicised, noting that the proliferation and possession of unlawful firearms in the country “call for increased security measures.”
He made the revelation during an interview with THISDAY yesterday, debunking claims that his administration had not accorded security challenges in the state with deserved attention.
Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been facing series of deadly attacks that affected eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) – Batsari, Safana, Dandume, Kankara, Danmusa, Faskari, Jibia and Musawa.
The attacks, orchestrated by armed bandits, culminated in the death of over 60 residents and rendered at least 30,000 persons homeless apart from assets worth billions of naira destroyed.
At the interview session, Masari explained diverse efforts his administration had initiated in the last seven months to tackle the challenges of armed bandits and kidnappers in the state.
Specifically, the governor said that the state government purchased 10 Toyota Hilux operational vehicles at the tune of N181 million and distributed to the affected LGAs to boost security patrol.
He said that the operational vehicles “are meant for surveillance and quick response to emergencies across the dreaded councils bordering the Rugu forest, one of the deadly forests camping criminals.
Apart from the logistic support, Masari disclosed that the state government “has been are giving monthly allowances to the operatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), vigilante groups, running to almost N100 million since the challenges started.”
The governor, also, disclosed that the state government had procured more than 50 operational motorcycles for security operatives in the state “to support the fight against armed bandits and kidnappers.”
He, thus, canvassed collaborative approach by all sectors in the state “to successfully tackle and overcome the security challenges, instead of “blackmails and unguided utterances.”
He explained that the cooperation of all citizens irrespective of political affiliations or wherever they come from “is imperative to overcome insecurity and all forms of criminality in Katsina State. We should not politicise security issue because is everyone’s business.
“The current security challenges in the country should not be politicised, but must be frontally tackled in synergy with all stakeholders, hence the need for all and sundry to unite against the hoodlums.”
He said the security of lives and property was crucial to socio-economic development, which he said, was the reason his administration had taken proactive measures to avert emerging security challenges.
The governor added that he had been in constant touch with his counterparts in the neighbouring states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States “to secure boundary villages which might be used by criminals to gain access to the state.
“We are quite aware that there might be incursion of criminals from outside the state. Therefore, I have started contacting my counterparts in the neighbouring states with a view to collaborating for more protection of lives and property along the bounder areas.”
Also, the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) in the state put smile on the faces of 200 internally displaced persons (IPDs) yesterday by donating relief materials worth thousands of naira to them.
After presenting the items, the state NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Ahidjo Yahaya said the donation was part of the scheme’s corporate social responsibility and its community development service (CDS) policy to the less privileged in the society.
The beneficiaries, mostly women and children were displaced from their ancestral homes by bandits and are currently taking refuge at the orphanage home.
The coordinator described the situation that the IDPs found themselves in as unfortunate, urging them not to lose hope, but trust God that their predicaments would soon be a history.
He, however, commended the state government for the enabling environment created for the NYSC to operate in the state, calling for the sustainability of the tempo.