ANDY ASEMOTA reports that Katsina-based Al-Qalam University has showered victims of insecurity in Batsari local government area of Katsina State with food items, just as Governor Aminu Bello Masari reveals the remedies jointly proffered by Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina states to tackle the menace in the state.
Recently, representatives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Batsari local government area, the worst hit area by activities of bandits terroriing some parts of Katsina State, gathered at Al-Qalam University in Katsina to receive food items as a donation from the institution to the IDPs.
At the event, the university handed out food items worth over N300,000 in a bid to ameliorate the hardship of many displaced by the bandits’ attacks across Batsari and environs. The victims of the recent attacks on some villages in Batsari local lovernment area are from, among others, Yar Gamji, Wagini, Yasore, Sabon Garin Labo and Dan Geza villages.
Insecurity is a challenge across no fewer than eight local government areas in Katsina State. Batsari LGA, in a recent statistics released by the Katsina State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), is the area with the highest number of displaced persons in the state.
Executive Secretary of the Katsina SEMA, Alhaji Babangida Nasamu, at an event recently said about 18,544 out of a total of 25,988 IDPs in the state as at June 1, 2019, were in Batsari besides about 1,707 that fled to Katsina metropolis and 616 taking refuge at Jibia.
According to the SEMA chief, some 513 IDPs were in Danmusa while Safana accounted for about 607 of the helpless persons, who are predominantly women and children.
The Vice Chancellor of Al-Qalam University, Prof. Shehu Ado, represented by his deputy, Dr. Kabir Kado, on Friday, May 31, 2019, presented 12 types of food items among which were bags of rice, millet, gari, sugar, cartons of spaghetti, gallons of vegetable oil, cartons of soap and detergent to the chairman of the IDPs, Dr. Salisu Garba.
Presenting the relief materials at the premises of the university, Prof. Ado condemned the attacks as senseless and inhuman.
“Al Qalam Varsity community is equally concerned about the senseless and ungodly killings by these bandits perpetrated on innocent citizens in Batsari and environs and we decided to extend a helping hand to the survivors of the in-human act,” he asserted.
He prayed for those who lost their lives during the attacks and for peace to prevail so that the IDPs could go back to their respective villages to enjoy their normal activities.
While extolling the varsity after receiving the donation of the food items, the chairman of the IDPs, Dr. Salisu Garba, said the IDPs in Batsari local government will not forget the gesture shown by the university at this difficult situation.
Meanwhile on the other hand, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has disclosed that Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states have endorsed “a joint operation of coordinated and simultaneous offensive under a single command” against the bandits terrorising the North-western states.
Masari said a two-day meeting of top officials of the three states ended on Monday, May 21, 2019, in Gusau, Zamfara State capital, with the officials agreeing to ensure a renewed offensive to safeguard the people of the affected states.
Speaking during his swearing-in ceremony in Katsina for a second term on May 29, Masari revealed that he personally presented their case to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja as a result of which the President sympathised and commiserated with them and pledged to ensure a quick response.
“Accordingly, on Thursday May 23 2019, an Assessment Team arrived Katsina on the orders of the Chief of Defence Staff. The team visited and interacted with relevant stakeholders in the affected areas, with a view to addressing this anomaly once and for all, by the grace of God.
“It is important, at this juncture, to state clearly that the state government is doing everything possible to support security personnel and security operations in Katsina State. Despite the meager resources available, the state government has been providing operational vehicles, office and residential accommodation, security equipment for operation, monthly personnel allowances and so many others to the security personnel posted to the state from 2015 when we took over the mantle of leadership to date.
“I therefore wish to appeal to our people across the state for calm and continued prayers, as we have received the assurance of the Federal Government for drastic action to degrade these inhuman marauders. Let us continue to cooperate and assist the security agencies as they re-strategize to ensure our safety and wellbeing,” Masari said.
Giving insight into the disturbing resurgence of armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom that is prevalent in the frontline local government areas bordering the notorious Rugu Forest, Masari said, despite continued logistics support to the security agencies, the trend continued because of the failure of previous administrations to plan or respond vigorously to these challenges as they emerged.
Recalling some cases where a number of challenges were due to the indifferent posture of successive administration to the realities of the social and economic conditions in the state, he noted that insecurity and reduced revenue were the most pressing challenges with far reaching implications to the development of the state.
His words: “In 2015, we inherited a worsened security situation in the nine local government areas bordering Rugu forest in Katsina State. Cattle rustling and rural banditry were left to spiral out of control. Thousands of farmers and Fulani herders in the affected areas were being attacked and displaced by bandits and marauders. Many lost not only their properties and sources of livelihood but also their lives.”
“Of course, when we took over we deployed varying tactics and comprehensive peace packages including stakeholder engagements, dialogues, and amnesty programmes to promptly and decisively address the problem of cattle rustling and rural banditry. Despite the relative success recorded by Katsina State Government on cattle rustling, the military operation in Zamfara State has greatly affected Katsina State as most of the rustlers dislodged from the forests in Zamfara relocated to katsina State, especially the frontline local government areas bordering Rugu forest, thus affecting our success in that regard,” he added.
The governor agreed that there were still other associated insecurity challenges with kidnapping and other forms of abductions as being the most disturbing primarily due to a number of factors.
“Chief among these was the failure in the past to deal with the emerging rural banditry and the subsequent militarization of many of our ungoverned spaces which was facilitated by the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“This led to the destruction of our rural economies and pushed thousands of our people into unemployment and poverty. Needless to say, it was this combination that created the volatile condition which presently nurture and sustain insecurity in our state,” the governor said.
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