Displaced by persistent cattle rustling attacks, some residents of some of the worst hit communities in Faskari LG of Katsina state have been forced to live in camps. In this report, MUAZU ELAZEH writes that succour came their way recently when the lawmaker representing the area donated relieve materials to them.
Succour finally came the way of predominantly farming families of Maigora and Sabon Layin Galadima communities of Faskari council areas of Katsina state, who by cruel fate, became victims of cattle rustling attacks and were turned into Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) when the member representing Faskari in the Katsina state House of Assembly, Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki, in conjunction with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), donated relieve materials to them.
It would be recalled that residents of Mararabarn Maigora, Maigora, Sabon Layin Galadima, Kurar Mota, Munhaye and Unguwar Doka of Fasakri and a host of other communities that bothered the famous rugu forest have had to contend with persistent cattle theft.
Although the statistics could not be independently verified, residents claimed they have lost hundreds of thousands of cattle and other animals to the cattle rustlers who until recently, had field day reigning terror on innocent and indeed, hapless villagers.
“They stole our animals, rape our women and even kidnap our young ladies. But thank God, with the determination of government and security agents, the situation has reduced remarkably’’, one Mallam Sani Usman (not real name) a resident who claimed he relocated to Funtua because of the attacks, said.
It was gathered that there had been widespread incidence of cattle rustling consequent upon which the residents of these communities who are predominantly farmers and who rely heavily on the cattle to till their farms are faced with scarcity of tillage cattle.
As at the last count, it was gathered that no fewer than one thousand households who were displaced, and who for fear of further attacks, have located to Faskari towns where most of them are seeking refuge.
But then, help came their way when the member representing Faskari at the Katsina state House of Assembly who is also the deputy speaker of the state assembly, Engr Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki, lobbied SEMA for the provision of relieve materials to the victims.
Speaking during the formal presentation of the relieve materials to the victims at Sabon Layin Galadima village of Faskari LG, Engr Tafoki said the gesture was aimed to help the victims pick the bit and pieces of their lives.
“These people are predominantly farmers who rely heavily on using their bulls for cultivation. But sadly enough, high incidence of cattle rustling has left them without their cherished bull even as they have been forced to relocate”
“Our intervention is to assist them and cushion the effect of the suffering they have been made to face by these heartless criminals. Good enough, the security agencies are making progress in combating this menace of cattle rustling” he added.
The lawmaker lauded security operatives for the on-going joint operations in the area stressing “this has brought so much relieve to residents as the criminals are currently on the run. I am optimistic that very soon; these people will return to their communities and continue with their normal lives”.
Engr Tafoki who had earlier moved a motion at the floor of the Katsina state house of assembly urging his colleagues and indeed the state government to urgently come to the aid of the victims of cattle rustling said he was moved by the enormity of the situation.
“All it takes for one to appreciate the situation is a visit to these families. When you interact with them and hear them narrate their situation, you will know how terrible the situation is. They need help and the least we can do is to rally for support for them” he noted.
Speaking in a not so dissimilar manner, the executive director of SEMA, Dr Aminu Waziri, said the agency had conducted need assessment of the people hence the decision to provide them the relieve materials.
Waziri listed items donated to include matrasses, blankets, and foodstuffs.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, one Garba Maikifi said the gesture couldn’t have come at a better time insisting that the displaced persons would not forget the donation in a hurry.
“This gift is just like scratching someone where it itch him the most. We have waited patiently for a day like this and seeing it reminds us that we have not been forgotten by the authorities”
“While we are overjoyed by the show of love and care which you have shown through the donation of these items, we are more happy to note that government has taken all the necessary measures to make our communities safe from further attacks” Maikifi added.
Maikifi who sob intermittently while making his speech painted a gloomy picture of the attack and insisted that it was one experience that he would never wished it happen to even “my worst enemy because it is horrible”.
The popular Dajin Rugu (Rugu forest) which bordered Katsina and Zamfara states has been the hide out of criminals and armed men who terrorize travelers. Of recent, the area had witnessed series of robbery attack as a result of which a joint security operation team had been deployed to patrol the area.