From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari has urged critics of his recent pronouncement on the state of insecurity in parts of his state to channel their misgivings to the Federal Government.
The governor had at a ceremony in Jibia directed residents to acquire arms for self-defence against bandits terrorising residents.
The directive has since generated diverse reactions with the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), who have called for the governor’s resignation.
But reacting in a press statement on Saturday, Governor Masari described the management of security matters throughout the country as the sole responsibility of the Federal Government arguing that ‘I am the chief security of officer of Katsina State only on paper.’
He said that the call for his resignation was ‘absurd’, adding that Federal Government security operatives in the state do not receive orders from him.
‘The only things they take from governors are the financial and material assistance (both solicited and unsolicited) which they extend to the security institutions in the states,’ Governor Masari said in the statement signed by his Director-General, Media, Abdul Labaran Malumfashi.
The statement read:
‘Security is on the Exclusive List of the Nigerian Constitution, which means it is exclusively a Federal Government affair.
‘In matters of security, a governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state only in name because the various security chiefs working in the state take orders not from him, but from their superiors in Abuja.
‘Governor Masari is second to none when it comes to proactive engagement with security agencies in the state.
‘The massive increase in the number of security formations in Katsina State and the North-West in general is due to the dogged commitment and determination of Governor Masari to see to the successful prosecution of the war against banditry.
‘As constitutionally elected officeholders, governors do not succumb to the intimidation of some self-serving disgruntled elements, masquerading as human rights campaigners by resigning.
‘If they are found wanting in the discharge of their responsibilities, the Nigerian Constitution has provided the protocols for easing them out of office, and no House of Assembly is in the dark about that.
‘Masari is not the first governor to make the suggestion. In states where citizens do not politicise security issues, they rallied around their leaders who had similarly admonished their people.
‘Therefore, to suggest that Governor Masari should resign for his patriotic candour and courage in admonition his people to wake up and resist the bandits by acquiring arms for self-defence betrays a sheer lack of the understanding of the letter and spirit as well as the workings of the Nigerian Constitution, or a motive which is anything but altruistic.’