Agaju Madugba, Katsina
A cross section of governors from the North West zone of the country are expected to meet in Kaduna next week, to deliberate on how to tackle the prevailing menace of armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping in the area.
Reports indicate that Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto are worst hit in the zone as bandits and kidnappers continue to terrorise residents in parts of the states, even as certain routes and highways have virtually become no-go areas for motorists.
Speaking on Wednesday, during his re-election campaign trip to two of the eight “most dangerous” local government areas in Katsina State, Safana and Dan-Musa, Governor Aminu Masari said the affected governors would take all measures possible, to counter activities of the criminals and hoodlums.
He said the governors of Kebbi and Zamfara visited him last Sunday, during which they had preliminary discussions on the issues.
Masari told the people of Safana and Dan-Musa that certain government initiatives had earlier led to considerable reduction in incidences of cattle rustling in the two local government areas, but regretted that the bandits “changed tactics and resorted to kidnapping.”
However, according to the governor, “the fight against kidnappers can only be won with the participation of citizens, through providing useful information to security agencies, especially concerning those who serve as informants to the criminals.”
Masari had, during a recent meeting with stakeholders, warned that bandits and kidnappers were on the verge of overrunning the state and that security of lives of residents could no longer be guaranteed.
The local government areas described as frontline locations for bandits and cattle rustlers, in Katsina State are Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume, Kankara and parts of Kafur, Masari’s local government.
Parts of communities in these areas share boundaries with the Rugu forest, reported to be the equivalent of the Sambisa forest, a foremost operational base of the Boko Haram insurgent group in Borno State.