GOVERNOR Aminu Masari has lamented to total lack of security in Katsina State pointing out that there are only 30 police officers assigned to provide security for 100 villages across the state despite it living at the mercy of armed bandits.
Katsina State is currently in the grips of an unprecedented orgy of violence that has seen heavily armed bandits wreck havoc across its 34 local government areas. Powerless to stop them, Governor Masari sought to end the violence by offering the bandits amnesty under a programme whereby they would hand in their arms for cash.
After a few months, however, the amnesty programme collapsed, leaving the governor helplessly at the mercy of the security forces. Speaking at a luncheon to mark the recent Eid-El-Kabir with troops of the Nigerian Army on the frontline, Governor Masari said the number of the police officers is inadequate to cover the villages of Katsina State.
He said his administration is working to amend the laws of the state to give power to local authorities to curb the activities of bandits. According to the governor, the hoodlums have blended in so much with the local communities that it is hard to differentiate them from the locals.
Governor Masari said: “This would complement ongoing efforts to emplace a robust community policing structure, whilst addressing the gross deficit in the number of police personnel available at local levels, which is in the range of an average of about 30 policemen to about 100 villages. Even if the bandits were wiped out by the military, another generation of criminal elements would quickly take their place in the absence of governance and adequate policing.
“The bandits are inter-twined within the communities so sometimes it may be difficult for the Nigerian Air Force or the army to distinguish them from the locals in order to conduct offensive operations devoid of collateral damage. Locals must stop giving support, information or safe havens to these criminals.”
Air Vice Marshall Sadique Abubakar, Nigeria’s chief of air staff, said unmanned aerial vehicles will be deployed in Katsina and Zamfara states to curb the activities of the bandits. Over recent months, northwest Nigeria have become a haven for armed bandits and kidnappers, who kill with wanton abandon.