Kastina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has declared the State unsafe, arguing that criminal activities of bandits and kidnapers have tended to make everyone vulnerable to attack, irrespective of their positions in society.
“No one, including myself, is safe; I’m not safe,”
Masari declared, yesterday, at the opening ceremony of an extra-ordinary security meeting with heads of various security organisations, civil society groups as well as traditional rulers in the state.
Masari ranked cattle rustling number three on his list of acts of prevailing threats to security of life and property in the state and noted that kidnapping and armed robbery have become daily routine in the area.
“Our state is currently under serious siege, by bandits, kidnappers, with cattle rustlers taking the third position. Kidnapping is now the order of the day in Katsina State. Armed robbery is also, now, the order of the day in Katsina State.
“Only two days ago, some people left my residence at about 3:00a.m and when they got to the Ring Road area, a gang of about five fully armed men robbed them at gunpoint.
“So, this is how bad it has become now. All the security reports I received today (yesterday) is either about kidnapings or armed robbery.
So, our state is under siege, and that is why we decided to call for this extraordinary meeting. No one, including myself, is safe.
“That is why we are here, to discuss and find a way out, and we must find a way because we are talking about the survival of our people and the survival of our state.
“A woman, I was told, was picked and after demanding N5 million they shot the person who took the money
“We had seen the worst before and we can equally get out of this situation now, also. We must work together to find a solution as to who does what, when, where and how.”
“This is a bad situation and we can no longer continue to fold our arms. Even if this meeting takes us into midnight, we must find a solution today,” the governor charged the stakeholers.
Katsina has about seven states it shares boundaries with, including Zamfara State, where armed banditry currently reigns, with bandits reportedly sacking various communities virtually on daily basis, in spite of intensified joint military operations by the Federal Government’s security forces.
Last week, some 2,000 persons, according to the Katsina State Emergency Management Agency, fled their communities in Zamfara, and currently taking refuge at various locations in Kankara local government area of Katsina.
Until recently, bandits had found fertile ground in parts of Katsina State with hoodlums embarking on bloody raids on a number of communities in Safana, Batsari, Jibia, Danmusa, Kurfi, Dutsima, Kankakara, Dandume, Faskari and Sabuwa Local Government Areas.
The most devastating, being, perhaps, the killing spree of March 12, 2014, during a state visit to Katsina by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, when suspected cattle rustlers slaughtered some 142 residents in three communi- ties of Mararrabar Maigora, Sabon Layin Galadima and Unguwar Doka, all in Fas- kari Local Government Area of the state.
But, the Masari administration on assumption of office, intervened, crushing the menace with a historic amnesty programme, which saw some repentant cattle thieves dropping their arms.
A communique was still being awaited from the security meeting as at the time of filling this report.