By Francis Sardauna
The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has said 99 per cent of bandits terrorizing farming communities in Dandume, Faskari and Sabuwa Local Government Areas of the state are from the neighbouring Zamfara State.
He said communities within the three local government areas bordering Zamfara State have become epicentres of banditry, kidnapping and other heinous activities orchestrated by the marauding bandits.
The governor insisted that the hoodlums, who killed, kidnapped and rape innocent Katsina citizens before moving to their enclaves in adjoining forests of Zamfara State, must be eliminated by security personnel before peace can be restored in the state.
Masari, who spoke to journalists shortly after inspecting a proposed site for the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Airstrip in Funtua Local Government Area of the state Sunday evening, said the nefarious activities of bandits from Zamfara had truncated his efforts at restoring normalcy in the state.
THISDAY reports that the citing of the NAF Airstrip in Funtua will go a long way in tackling the spate of banditry bedevilling Dandume, Faskari and Sabuwa Local Government Areas, including some parts of Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States.
Governor Masari had granted amnesty to bandits after a tour of 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 the North-west after the Inspector General of Police (IG), 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.
But the governor, during the media parley, said residents of Jibia, Batsari, Safana and Danmusa Local Government Areas were enjoying relative peace, but communities in Faskari, Sabuwa and Dandume are currently facing security challenges due to their proximity to Zamfara State.
He, therefore, called on the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the state to take full control of Kaura Namoda and Zurmi Local Governments of Zamfara State, which he said served as hideouts for bandits launching mayhem in Katsina.
He said: “The only places that we are having problems are Faskari, Sabuwa and Dandume Local Governments but all other local governments in the state, especially Jibia, Batsari, Safana and Danmusa there is relative peace.
“From the reports I receive every morning, if you find any case of rustling or kidnapping, it is mostly around Faskari, Sabuwa and Dandume. We have been complaining to the military authorities to take full control of Gurbi-Gidan Jaja-Kaura Namoda areas of Zamfara State.
“Unless security is fully reinforced in the areas because that is the danger zone where most of the bandits live and move freely. We cannot secure Katsina without security in Zamfara, because 99 per cent of all the attacks and kidnappings happening in Katsina are from Zamfara”.
He, however, foreclosed dialogue with the bandits, saying his administration would no longer negotiate with the marauders due to their inability to accept the first and second rapprochement reached between them and his government.