Several bandit leaders in Katsina State have laid down their arms and reached out to the state government, seeking a robust peace agreement between both sides.
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Security Matters, Ibrahim Ahmad Katsina, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Friday.
He noted that the bandit leaders have realized what the future holds for them vis-a-vis the state government’s approach to consolidate a realizable future and a framework for growth and development.
According to Ahmad Katsina, the existing courage mechanism building by the state government on the citizens had since started yielding positive results with the rate of bandits’ attacks reduced to the barest minimum.
He believed that criminal activities such as banditry, kidnapping, and other related crimes will soon end in recognition of the combined effort of the citizens and the government to assist the security agencies.
Also, he recalled that the state government has recently trained 1,100 highly educated community vigilante corps that are volunteers and are ready to assist their communities to survive, an effort to send a message to the bandits to embrace peace.
The governor’s aide explained that the government has inaugurated a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Governor of the state, QS Mannir Yakubu, to take a census of banditry-affected victims which he said is unprecedented.
This is to ensure that the victims have not become vulnerable and thus to avert another cycle of violence after the end of banditry.
“So, we are applying simple psychological measures to manage the perception of the children of the banditry-affected victims. This is because; the children of those affected by the banditry will surely like to take revenge, so that’s why we want to support them.
“We will provide the widows with gainful employment opportunities, skills, and trades, and their children will be taken to schools. This effort is yielding positive results,” Katsina noted.
While talking politics, the governor’s aide assured the good people of the state that the forthcoming 2023 general elections will be held in the most peaceful and democratic manner across all parts of the state by the special grace of God.
The present state administration, he said, will not hand over a hangover of threats of challenges or problems.
“We have realized that these bandits are also human beings like us, hence we want to disallow them from cutting short our lives.
“We are not talking; we know what we are doing. Relative peace is gradually returning to the state based on several factors.
“We have realized that what we are facing in Katsina is community banditry, most of the bandits and their locations are known.
“So, we first understood the dynamics of the threats which made it easier for us to deal with the problem and identity the factors responsible, which are responsible and what needs to be done to nib in the bud the problem.
“We first tried to reach out to the communities and developed their capacity in intelligence gathering, community policing, and community effort.
“Through this approach, members of various banditry-affected communities have risen to their responsibilities by not waiting for the security forces.
“We have already commenced the Ruga project in Katsina State, taking development to the forest areas and hinterlands.
“The areas that were hitherto inaccessible are now accessible.
“And let me share something with you, even the bandit leaders are now laying down their arms reaching out to us, they want a robust peace agreement that is committed to both sides.
“This is because they have realized what the future beholds for them. They have also realized the approach we are making is to consolidate a realizable future and a framework for growth and development,” he added.