Buhari’s status has not helped Katsina to end banditry, kidnapping, killings – Civil society leader

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The implication was that of portraying the level of insecurity that reached a point where nobody could claim to be safe, no matter how highly placed he might  be politically, traditionally or otherwise.

It also showed that even the President’s his home town and his relatives were not safe. In short, it was an act that was carefully planned and executed to tell the world that there was a bad case of insecurity in Katsina State, thereby challenging the President and the security agencies under his command.

In essence, it was a deliberate act to portray the President as a failure in terms of security, despite his efforts and the progress he has in fighting the insurgency in the North-East.”

 There seems to be a resurgence of kidnapping and murder in Katsina. What do you think could be responsible for this?

In my opinion, a resurgence of the heinous crime of kidnapping and the killing of innocent citizens in Katsina State towards the end of 2019 might be due to many factors, including, but not limited to little or no commitment on the part of the Federal Government through the security forces/agencies under its controls.

In other words, it could also be due to the inability of the Federal Government to live up to the expectations of the people, in terms of protecting lives and property.

Other factors are failure to use modern technology to track the suspected bandits who frequently use GSM phones during their operations;  little or no synergy among different security agencies operating in the state to check the illegal operations of bandits and kidnappers; as well as the sudden ban on the activities of the local vigilante, known as Yan Sa Kai in Hausa.

The ban on the operations of the vigilante appears to have emboldened the criminals and encouraged them to continue their attacks without any fear of opposition or interference from even the law enforcement agencies.

The people are unable to protect themselves for fear of the consequential effect and repercussion from the security agencies, especially the Police. The alleged or suspected connivance of some other unpatriotic citizens (informants), security operatives and traditional rulers, as well as failure on the part of the National Communications Commission to direct all network service providers to cut services from the areas, also contributed significantly to the perpetration of those heinous acts.”

Can you cite instances of killings and kidnapping in the state in recent time?

Instances of killings and kidnapping since the reincarnation of the problems are too numerous to mention. Many communities in the state, such as Dutsinma, Tsanni, Yargamji, Tsauri and Kwarare in Batagarawa, Kurfi and Jibiya Local Government Areas, to mention but a few, witnessed more than 26  cases in the month of December 2019.

Other local government areas affected after amnesty was granted to bandits in the state included Danja, Kafur, Kaita and Rimi.  Many people were abducted and freed only after their families paid millions of naira as ransom. Just two days ago, about 20 people were abducted from a J5 bus after stopping the vehicle along Batsari,-Jibia road at Randa Village.

Last year, the bandits targeted both the rich and the poor, this year it seems they have decided to choose their victims among ordinary people. What is your take on this?

Actually the bandits are not targeting only ordinary people at the moment. They may continue to attack both rich and poor people as long as they keep getting information that the targeted person can pay ransom or he has relatives who can gather a substantial sum of many to pay for his freedom. Therefore, the rich and highly placed, as well as top government functionaries will not be left out of their wicked plans.

For instance, recently, a relative of the Deputy Accountant-General of Katsina State was kidnapped. One of the siblings of a leader of the state House of Assembly is still in captivity and some senior civil servants in the state have fallen victim at one time or another. So nobody is safe.”

Where are these kidnappers and bandits coming from? Does it mean that the ongoing border closure has not had any effect in the state?

I cannot say where the kidnappers and bandits are coming from. The border closure has no direct effect, since the criminals are not coming in through conventional border gateways.

The Governor of the state once granted the bandits amnesty. Did his gesture yield any positive result?

The governor granted them amnesty in good faith and, sincerely, to bring an end to the killings and abduction of innocent people in the state. Unfortunately, the amnesty was effective for only a short time. In my opinion, this was because there was no sincerity on the part of the ring leaders and the bandits, who went on to betray the amnesty by launching more attacks in the state, as if nothing had happened between them and the government. To some extent, the gesture helped, and on the other hand, it really did not.

Security wise, is Katsina feeling the impact of being the State of the President?

In terms of establishing security structures, such as the Air Force bases at Daura and Katsina, Katsina State has felt the President’s impact.

The Federal Government also established a Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, which in turn led to the establishment of additional battalions, among others. But in terms of putting an end to banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder, as well as other crimes in the state, the state and its people have not felt the impact.

In fact, we are literally at the mercy of dangerous criminals and left to depend on the efforts of the state governor, who neither controls any of the armed forces nor commands the law enforcement agencies, to check the activities of these criminals.

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