Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Francis Sardauna in Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend condemned the latest round of reprisals on farmers by bandits in Damkar and Tsanwa villages in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The president, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, described reprisals under whatever guise as unacceptable.
Buhari was reacting to the attacks in which at least 30 people were killed and many homesteads razed.
Katsina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, on his part, commiserated with the victims of the banditry in the state.
The president warned that “no one in the country has a right to take laws into his hands by the way of self-help or revenge.”
He added: “Local communities that catch bandits should hand over the suspects to law enforcement authorities instead of meting out capital punishment, leading to a cycle of revenge and counter revenge.”
Buhari urged community leaders and local authorities to sustain efforts in partnering with law enforcement agencies, which bring the bandits to surrender, resulting in peace between farmers and herders.
“The authorities must be allowed to investigate and deal with any breach that occurs. There is no place for violence in a decent society,” he said.
He prayed God to comfort the bereaved families and for the repose of the souls of the victims.
Masari also commiserated with the victims of the banditry.
Masari, who was speaking yesterday in Malumfashi during the disbursement of empowerment items to residents of Funtua senatorial zone, assured the people that his administration will continually frustrate the operations of bandits and end banditry.
He said both the state and federal governments were determined and working assiduously to end the carnage by the bandits.
The governor added that strategic measures were being taken to curb banditry and urged members of the communities to assist security agencies with valuable information about miscreants and their informants.
He called on the National Assembly to strengthen national security by enacting relevant laws that will provide security operatives with working tools to end security challenges facing the nation.
The governor commiserated with the bereaved families and prayed to God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
Masari reaffirmed that the commitment of his administration to protect the lives and property of the people will not be derailed by the indiscriminate violence against innocent people orchestrated by bandits.
He said: “I want to seize this opportunity and commiserate with the people of Batsari Local Government over the attack that led to the death of about 27 people.
“And I think we need to look at a better security structure for this country for the betterment of Nigerians. I therefore appeal to the Senate to strengthen national security.”