Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State on Friday warned traditional rulers that they risk major sanctions if they are found to be colluding with bandits.
Background: Governor Masari gave the remarks during his dialogue with self-repented bandits and Fulani leaders at Ungwar Tsamiya village. Governor Masari is currently on a state-wide dialogue tour to get bandits to lay down their arms in the interest of peace.
- “Traditional rulers, district and village heads should listen. I swear, if we found any of you aiding the activities of these miscreants or destroying the effort we have put in place to cure this problem, that person will be sanctioned.”
What it means: Masari believes that some of the traditional rulers have been complicit in the festering situation. Hundreds of people have been killed and kidnapped in the Northwestern state where bandits control about eight Local Government Areas which the Governor has been visiting. A June 2019 report by the Katsina State Emergency revealed that 33,130 people are in internally displaced persons camp as a result of banditry.
Masari believes his dialogue option is yielding results. To his credit, some bandit groups recently pledged cooperation with the government. The bandits also demanded that the government released some of its members that have been arrested as part of an amnesty deal.
Bottomline: Just like the case of Zamfara, we are not sure if the dialogue strategy is the best option. However, Governor Masari can pay attention to some of the bandits’ demands such as the provision of basic infrastructure and social amenities.