Saturday, July 20, 2024
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Govt, security officials aiding banditry, governor cries out


• Says youths being recruited for as low as N500
• Kebbi gov vows to sign death warrant of convicted informants
• Gunmen kill 24 in Katsina; three farmers in Benue

Katsina State Governor Dikko Radda claims some security personnel and government officials are aiding gunmen, thus turning banditry into a business venture.

Radda, whose state is one of the worst hits by the security challenge in the Northwest, says the high level of poverty in the country is also a contributory factor to the prevalence of insecurity.

He spoke on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, even as bandits struck afresh in Unguwar Sarkin Noma community in Sabuwa Local Government Area of the state on Thursday night, killing no fewer than 24 residents who tried to resist the gunmen’s invasion.

Another gang raided the Ogbaulu community in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State on Friday, killing three farmers.

“Now it has turned into a business venture for the criminals, some people who are in government, some people who are in security outfits, and some people who are responsible for the day-to-day activities of their people,” Radda said in the interview.

This situation, according to him, is partly responsible for the inability of government to end banditry.

He did not agree with suggestions that the security crisis was caused by politics.

”The issue of the hypothesis behind political motive as responsible for banditry is not true,” he said, pointing out that recruitment of youth as bandits, especially in the north, is not difficult.

“With N5,000, N2,000 and N200, you can be able to convince some of these youths to join into this exercise which brings about money,” he said.

Asked if he was disposed to negotiating with bandits as part of the strategy to restore sanity, the governor said his administration would not negotiate from a “point of weakness.”

He said: “When you understand the terrain of the forest and the different camps that we have within those forests… like in Katsina, we have more than 100 different camps that are being led by somebody.

“So, they have many leaders, many camps, and if you’re negotiating with camps A and B and don’t negotiate with camps C and D, it will not bring any lasting peace.

“Even if you negotiate with the leaders, the other followers of the leaders may not necessarily comply with the directives of their leader. So that is what makes negotiation with the bandits a very difficult task,” he said.

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“What I said is that I would never go into negotiations with any criminal from the point of weakness.”

He defended the US tour recently undertaken by him and some other governors from the zone on ways of dealing with the security challenge.

His words: “The meeting was not at the instance of the select governors of northern states, but it was at the instance of the United States Institute of Peace.

“They were the people who invited us. They hosted us for the meeting. We were invited to sit with them so that we could bring about lasting solutions to the problems that are affecting our people.

“Ten governors were in the United States, Washington D.C, and we had a symposium with the United States Institute of Peace so that we can bring about ideas that will end insecurity that is worrying our people and is a major problem to the sub-nationals, and they carefully chose the governors of the places affected by banditry and kidnapping.

“All of us sat for three days and we were able to cross-fertilise ideas and interact with all stakeholders that are involved in bringing about lasting peace and security globally.”

Kebbi gov vows to sign death warrant of convicted informants
Governor of neighbouring Kebbi State, Nasir Idris, yesterday vowed to sign the death warrant of anyone convicted of volunteering information to bandits in the state.

Idris gave the warning when he visited Tudun Bichi in Wasagu Chiefdom of Danko-Wasagu Local Government Area to console them on the recurring attacks by bandits.

The governor made it clear that he would not hesitate to append his signature to the death warrant of convicted informants.

He said: “The activities of informants defy all norms and religious doctrines. Just for a pittance, some miscreants will provide valuable information to bandits to perpetrate mayhem against their own people.

“I will never condone or be lenient with such unscrupulous persons.

“Let it be known to the informants that whoever is convicted for volunteering information to bandits, leading to the killing of innocent souls, I will sign his death warrant instantly.”

Idris pledged that his administration would continue to provide the necessary support to the security agencies with emphasis on logistics, welfare of troops and other material requirements for combat readiness and operational successes.

Earlier, the Village Head of Tudun Bichi, Malam Muhammad Mika’ilu, had thanked the governor for his kindness in paying a condolence visit to the people.

He said that the governor was the first Chief Executive of the state to visit the town.

Mika’ilu told the governor that the bandits had prevented them from cultivating their farmlands for the past two consecutive seasons.

He added that the bandits had renewed their attacks at the advent of this year’s rainfall, attacking and killing anyone who dared to till the land.

The village head appealed to the governor to facilitate the deployment of security operatives with requisite fighting equipment to deal with the bandits to enable the community go back to normal, uninterrupted farming.

He also appealed to the government to rehabilitate the major outlet linking the village to Wasagu, headquarters of Wasagu Chiefdom.

An elder of Tudun Bichi, Mallam Sani Manomi, in a remark, said that the bandits had killed a total of 86 people from the town in various attacks on farmlands.

According to him, on Thursday, the invaders murdered seven villagers in cold blood.

24 killed in Katsina resistance to bandits
Most of the victims were said to be vigilance group members who had stood up to the invaders.

The gunmen had laid siege to Unguwar Sarkin Noma, Gangara, Tafi and Kore, shooting into the air to scare the residents.

It was gathered that the gunmen were on a reprisal attack following military offensive on their camps.

Although the security agencies reportedly responded to the residents’ distress call to dislodge the invaders, 23 of the residents were killed instantly while another one died in the hospital.

All the victims have since been buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

Three farmers killed in Benue

Bandits also attacked the Ogbaulu community in Benue State, killing three men on their farms on Friday afternoon.

The Chairman of Agatu Local Government Area, Yakubu Ochepo, said the attackers appeared to have sneaked in through neighbouring Apa LGA.

Two of the victims hailed from Agatu while the other victim hailed from Apa LGA.

Why FG must tackle insecurity – Don

The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Prof. Abiodun Adebayo, has stressed the need for the Federal Government to redouble its efforts at tackling insecurity in order to achieve food sufficiency.

Adebayo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota that insecurity had impacted negatively on the nation’s food supply chain.

According to him, there is a high level of food insecurity in Nigeria as a result of security challenges such as armed banditry and kidnappings confronting the nation.

“The Federal Government must begin to look inwards to see how to tackle insecurity so that food can be made available to everyone,” he said.

The vice-chancellor said that insecurity was a critical factor driving inflationary trend in the country.

“Farmers can no longer go to their farms to produce due to numerous attacks by bandits and kidnappers.

“This development is affecting food production, distribution and availability, and thus translating to higher level of food insecurity and inflation rate in the country,” he noted.

Adebayo added that the nation’s inflation figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the inflation rate was about 28.99 percent in December 2023.

He said it was 29.92 per cent in January 2024, 31.70 per cent in February and 33.2 per cent in March.

According to him, insecurity is a major driver of the food inflation, which was almost 40 per cent in March.

The vice-chancellor urged the federal government to re-strategise and collaborate collectively through relevant stakeholders to find lasting solution to the menace of insecurity.



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