Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Weeks after his decision to engage armed bandits operating in parts of Katsina State in a roundtable dialogue initiative, Governor Aminu Bello Masari yesterday listed the some of the gains of the project.
Arguing that armed banditry and kidnapping have reduced drastically in the area, Masari said that “normalcy and relative peace” have returned in the eight frontline local government areas hitherto controlled by the repentant hoodlums.
The governor spoke at a town hall meeting in Katsina, initiated by the Federal Government, in collaboration with the governments of Zamfara and Sokoto states, areas equally ravaged by activities of armed bandits and kidnappers.
Masari, however, urged the Federal Government to consider what he described as special security subvention of grant to the affected northwest states, in order to adequately fund the dialogue and peace initiative processes.
According to him, in the aftermath of the Katsina dialogue initiative, “markets which were not patronised due to the menace of kidnapping and armed banditry have now continued to witness large number of people from all walks of life, thereby, increasing economic fortunes of the state.
“We have also witnessed the release of people kidnapped or abducted by the bandits and in exchange, government has released many relations of the bandits detained in prisons and police cells. Local government committees were formed to further address areas of potential conflicts and continue with the dialogue process at their levels.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government towards addressing insecurity of whatever form, in all parts of the country.
“The Federal Government is unrelenting in tackling these challenges because without peace and security, there can be no development,” the minister said.
He further lamented: “Here in the North-west, the security challenges – banditry, cattle rustling and Kidnapping – have been unique and daunting.
“The deadly attacks that claimed lives and destroyed property were daily making headline news all over the country. At a stage, the situation became so bad in some of the states in the North-West that many felt they were intractable.
“But thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Federal Government as well as the determination and innovative efforts of the governments of the affected states, there has been a remarkable improvement, and peace and security are gradually returning to the worst-hit states.”