From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari had inaugurated a committee to enforce his recent executive order to contain criminal violence by bandits in parts of the state.
The governor had last week signed the “Security Challenges (Containment) Order”, closing a number of roads and highways and ban on the sale of fuel, among other measures.
Inaugurating the committee at a ceremony at the Government House on Monday, the governor reaffirmed his commitment to ensure that peace returns to communities being terrorised by bandits and kidnappers.
He also ordered the immediate closure of all commercial charging points for mobile phones explaining that such facilitates aid bandits in their activities.
‘I don’t need to re-emphasise that today, our priority in Katsina State is to restore normalcy in the state for our people. Security is our number one concern,’ Governor Masari said.
‘The terms of reference also include certain issues and situations you may come across, to help in bringing about normalcy.
‘We will continue to bring in new measures that will help in bringing about peace and there will be further regularities regarding the use of mobile phones.
‘We will also take further measures with the Federal Ministry of Communications with the aim of restoring normalcy in the communities.
‘We have to be decisive and firm as this is a test we must not fail.
‘The locals must understand that we are taking these measures in their best interest.
‘It will hurt some of them economically but it has become necessary to take these measures now to forestall worse situations if these bandits and their collaborators are allowed free access to communications and other means of livelihood.
‘It is important that we realise that our number one enemies are the informants and we must tackle them and deal with them in accordance with the law,’ the governor stated.
The Katsina State Commissioner of Police is chairman of the committee with other members drawn from across the security agencies in the state, representatives of traditional rulers and civil society organisations, among others.
From an initial eight Local Government Areas, bandit activities have since expanded to other areas bringing the number to 19 out of the 34 Local Government Areas in the state.
Most of these locations share boundaries with the Rugu forest, reported to be a haven and operational base of bandits.
The Local Government Areas are Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Kankara, Sabuwa, Faskari, Dandume, Musawa, Matazu, Dutsinma, Kurfi, Danja, Kafur, Mai’Adua, Kaita, Bakori, Malumfashi and Funtua.