Agaju Madugba, Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday visited a cross-section of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Batsari, in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Batsari is one of the eight local government areas in the state that have since become fertile ground for bandits and kidnappers, exploiting the proximity of the area to the Rugu forest, to carry out their criminal activities.
“What brought me here is to condole you over the recent attack by bandits, affecting not only you but all of us,” Buhari told the about 1,050 IDPs who had fled their communities due to various attacks by bandits.
The president vowed that his government would tackle insecurity and other challenges confronting the nation and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
According to him, ‘’I assure you that we sleep and wake up with the sad moments of banditry and kidnapping activities in the state and country.
“By the grace of God, we will use soldiers, police and other public servants to end banditry.
‘’All those whose activities are to kill people saying “Allahu Akbar” are lying because God is not wicked.
“You cannot carry bomb or gun, sword or knife to kill innocent people and say ‘Allahu Akbar.’
“This implies that you either don’t believe in God or you don’t know what you are saying.
‘’There is a popular Hausa adage which says that, ‘it’s the rat in the house that tells the rat outside that there is fish in the house.’
“So, within yourselves, your neighbours and even your relatives there are informants.
‘’It’s only God that knows them; we can’t do anything here other than intensity prayers for God’s intervention by exposing them.”
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, along with senior government officials, accompanied Buhari on the visit.
Masari noted that a recent offer of amnesty offered to repentant bandits by governors of the North-West geo-political zone had tended to reduce the rate of banditry attacks in the state.
For residents in parts of Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Kankara, Faskari Dandume and Sabuwa, the stark reality is that life and living have virtually turned nightmarish as bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers carry out their inglorious trade in the areas, almost on a daily basis.
In some instances when the bandits choose to exhibit uncommon compassionate disposition, they spare the lives of the people but chase entire communities out of their homes and set their houses and other property ablaze, and then walk away.
At some other equally rare occasions, they invade communities, riding on several motorcycles, the number which the Katsina State police command usually put at over 300. And, reportedly brandishing AK 47 rifles and other weapons, they confiscate available foodstuff from residents, rustle some cattle, abduct some of the residents and then disappear without a trace, into the neighbouring forest.
Yet, in certain extreme cases which appear to be the more prevalent, the attacks are often vicious with an alarming number of death tolls as the hoodlums simply descend on target communities and shoot at anything and everything on sight, from accounts of the villagers.
The attackers then retreat, leaving behind trails of blood while a number of hapless survivors find their way to the nearest camps for internally-displaced persons. In minutes, neighbours, brothers, sisters, parents, and other family relations are murdered in cold blood, in operations that have tended to defy any explanations regarding the motives.