Presidency Accuses Katsina Traditional Rulers of Aiding Banditry

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Garba Shehu

Peter Uzoho

The presidency has accused some traditional rulers in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, of colluding with bandits to wreak havoc on their people.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, alleged this yesterday on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily programme.

Shehu was responding to the frustration expressed by the state Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, in his Democracy Day state-wide broadcast over the spate of insecurity in the state.

The presidential spokesman alleged that some emirs and districts heads in the state had been found complicit with the bandits by feeding them with information about the state, and allegedly collecting money in return.

According to Shehu, “It is not that we are making direct accusations at anyone, but it is also true that even in the president’s native state of Katsina, some traditional rulers have been found in collaboration with the bandits to harm their own people.

“In neighbouring Zamfara State, emirs and district heads, quite a number of them, have been swept out of office. The issue that is that they are beneficiaries of whatever rotten system you have.”

The president aide said during the height of violent conflicts in Zamfara State, the Nigerian Air Force stationed aircraft in Katsina airport from where they could launch attacks against bandits in Zamfara State.

He alleged that once the aircraft took off, unscrupulous elements in Katsina State would quickly inform the bandits in Zamfara State that an attack was imminent, giving them ample time to take cover.

He alleged: “At some point, the Nigerian Air Force had to keep a number of aircraft in Katsina, and they are still there, when Zamfara State was the epicentre of banditry.

“They realised that once aircraft took off from Katsina airport, before it got to Zamfara State for operation, telephone calls would have been made and targets would have disappeared. In the end, we were forced to be flying from distant places like Kaduna and Kano in order to undertake operations in Zamfara State.

Shehu said the notion that the president has all the solutions to the security situation was wrong, adding that “all of us as citizens have a duty to the country to provide information to our armed forces.”

He, however, said President Buhari has performed well in the area of security and deserves commendation for that.

While acknowledging that the security challenges in the country had been solved, he said the government had been able to bring most of them under control.