Politicians Sponsoring Banditry, Insurgency Over 2023 Ambitions, Says Masari

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Aminu Masari

•Zamfara bandits surrender 50 guns in barter deal

By Francis Sardauna in Katsina and Onuminya Innocent

The Katsina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, has attributed the prevailing cases of banditry and Boko Haram insurgency bedeviling the North to the activities of some politicians who want to contest the 2023 general election.

This is coming as bandits in Zamfara State have surrendered 50 guns within the past one week, in acceptance of the state government’s offer of two cows for every gun returned.

The governor said such politicians believed that by sponsoring violence and other acts of criminality, they would be blackmailing the Buhari administration to contest in the forthcoming general election.
Masari, who spoke yesterday during an interactive meeting with ward and local government chairmen of the state All Progressives Congress (APC), said most of the bandits and Boko Haram attacks in the country were sponsored by politicians.

Masari, who spoke yesterday during an interactive meeting with ward and local government chairmen of the state All Progressives Congress (APC), said most of bandits and Boko Haram attacks in the country were sponsored by some politicians.

“Most of the bandits and Boko Haram attacks facing the northern part of the country are sponsored by some politicians who are enemies of the present APC government at both federal and state.
“During the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, there were multiple bombs in Maiduguri, Kano and even Abuja.

“The Kano bombing then killed more than 500 people. Mosques, churches and roads were closed due to insecurity but today, God has prevented us from such insecurity but we have forgotten.

“Today, politicians who are willing or intending to contest 2023 elections are sponsoring banditry because the way the bandits mastered how to operate guns and by how they specialised in ambushing soldiers, we should know that there is someone behind it.

“They are saying we dislodged PDP administration because of insecurity, so they want to make use of insecurity to also sent APC away, that is why all APC should be vigilante.

He explained that the military and other security agents are doing a tremendous job of ridding the country of insurgency and banditry, saying the scourge continued due to the inability of other critical stakeholders to support the ongoing war against the hoodlums.

He said if the other stakeholders were doing half of what the military were doing in the area of security in the last five years, Nigeria would have defeated insurgency and banditry.

Masari, however, warned APC officials in the state who are seeking political positions in the forthcoming election to desist or face sanction from the party.

He said that sectional politics currently being played in the state over 2023 governorship election was capable of dividing the citizenry.

The governor reiterated that politicking at this period would derail the APC administration in fulfilling pledges made to the electorate in the 2019 general election.

He called for vigilance, especially by leaders of the party that leaves in the rural communities, saying it is their responsibility to inform security agencies of suspicious characters or movements.

“The military and the police cannot do it alone, they don’t have the numbers, neither do they have all the equipment required to complete the fight alone. Community members have all that it takes to inform and support the fight against insecurity,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Zamfara State Government has restated its commitment to rehabilitate and empower bandits willing to lay down their arms and embrace peace being canvassed by the government.
The state government had at the weekend offered two cows for every gun returned by bandits in a fresh deal with the outlaws.

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Bello Mutawalle, Mr. Zalani Bappa, told THISDAY at the weekend that Mutawalle had reiterated his commitment to continued dialogue with the bandits.
Zailani added that there were no new conditions or terms different from the ones earlier agreed upon by the government and the bandits.

According to Zailani, government will not compensate any repentant bandits but would rehabilitate and empower those who wish to abandon banditry by encouraging them to take to cattle rearing.
He, however, stated that the state government had completed the Ruga settlement at Maradun aimed at resettling the repentant bandits.

He said the government was not regretting engaging in dialogue with the bandits because the government’s efforts were yielding positive results.

“Just within a week, scores of bandits surrendered about 50 weapons to the government,” he stated.
He appealed

to bandits that are yet to surrender to have a rethink to escape the wrath of the military
The spokesman stated that the governor acknowledged the effort of the special military operation going on in the state.

“Last week, military operations in the state led to the killing of scores of bandits with the rescue of many held captive and the recovery of 200 cattle,” he said.