• Fingers unrepentant bandits in renewed attacks
Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari has alleged that 90 percent of bandits behind renewed armed attacks on communities in five local government areas (LGAs) in the state “are from Niger Republic and Zamfara State.”
Masari, Speaker of House of Representatives between 2003 and 2007, alleged that some notorious bandits, who refused to accept peace accord and rice smugglers, were behind the renewed armed attacks in the five LGAs.
He disclosed this at a session with journalists at the Government House, Katsina, alleging that Dangote and Dankarami were among those who refused the rapprochement between government and other bandits in the state.
Masari had granted amnesty to bandits after a tour to Fulani settlements and strong enclaves of the bandits in Rugu Forest on September 4-9, 2019 during which the renowned bandits and forest commanders denounced banditry and accepted peace.
The initiative was brokered alongside other governors in North-west after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu convened a peace summit in Katsina, leading discussion with some bandits from the affected states namely; Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Kaduna and Zamfara States.
But renewed attacks on villages in the local governments, had forced residents particularly businessmen and herders to flee their ancestral homes to the affected local governments headquarters and state capital for safety.
But at the session Friday night, Masari said the state government in collaboration with security operatives in the state would use technology to unmask the unrepentant bandits from their hideouts and restore public order in Katsina and North-west.
He said: “When we started the peace process, gang leaders like Dankarami and to some extent Dangote did not agreed. They never attended any meeting with us.
“Sometimes, Dankarami and Dangote would send their representatives, who would go and tell them what happened. But we never heard any commitments from them that they are part of the peace deal,” he said.
He, also, pointed out that about 90 per cent of the notorious bandits, who refused to embrace peace accord, live in Zamfara State not in Katsina State.
He disclosed that one of their gang leaders, Dangote “resides in Katsina. We know where his camp is, and we have sent a word to him.
“So, for those who accepted peace deal from Sabuwa to Jibia, they are living up to the agreement we heard with them. We have responsibility to secure our people. We are not afraid; neither are we shy away from our responsibility, no way.”
Masari, however, said the peace agreement he reached with bandits was still on course despite the resurgence of banditry and other nefarious activities in five LGAs – Jibia, Batsari, Dutsin-Ma, Kafur and Malumfashi.
He said: “Let me say it for the avoidance of doubt. The peace accord has not collapsed. Whatever the imagination of some people may be or whatever their conclusion may be, the peace process is on course and achieving positive results as far as we are concerned.
“So, the idea of breaking down is not correct. It is false. It is alarmist. They want to once again put Katsina State on the map of insecurity. It is on unfortunate.”
He explained what happened in Jibia LGA, attributing to the activities of those smuggling rice and other commodities from Niger Republic to Nigeria. He said the smugglers often invited bandits to come and clear the road for them.
Masari said these “are the bandits, who are now invading their homes in Jibia with the active connivance of the people living in Jibia. I am going to deal with this issue. We know them and we know who is doing what.”