The Katsina State government has defended Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s call on residents of the state to defend themselves from banditry attacks, saying it is better to spend money on buying arms than to pay ransom to kidnappers.
The special adviser to the governor on security matters, Ibrahim Ahmed Katsina, stated this while speaking on LEADERSHIP podcast’s live show, ‘The Big Issue’ yesterday, saying enough is enough for banditry activities in the state.
Disclosing that the government in the past had taken several unsuccessful measures, including granting amnesty to the bandits, to stem the tide of banditry in the state but that the bandits had betrayed the government’s agreement with them and continued causing hardship on the people on a daily basis.
According to him, that would no longer be tolerated, hence the encouragement given to the people to take up arms and defend themselves and their communities.
Katsina added that self-defence is constitutional in as much as the people would operate within the ambit of the law, by obtaining gun licences from the police and other arrangements the state government has put in place.
He said the decision is part of the state government community policing effort, by setting up three tiers of security arrangements, using the traditional rulers and the Nigeria Police Force to regulate and monitor the operations of the residents in their various communities.
“The situation is under control and what His Excellency the governor said is a normal call which is backed by the Police Act. You know, even if you kill somebody in self-defense, the law would not hold you accountable or responsible.
“And this is just history repeating itself, because the governor is not the first to advise people to defend themselves. When you ask people to do that, there are legal ways to do it. Even the governor clarified today that those who arm themselves would be registered by the police so that they can be properly monitored.”
Katsina government, however, added that “the proper thing to be done is, instead of the people remaining docile and allowing bandits to continue killing them like chickens, that is unacceptable.
“People should wake up to their responsibilities, because everybody knows the size of our security operatives are inadequate and hence need support.
“What His Excellency has said is an enhancement of the community policing initiative where people will partner security agencies by complementing the policing work.
“As far as Katsina is concerned, we are awakening the society by telling the bandits ‘enough is enough’, we will no longer tolerate them.”
The Katsina governor’s security aide insisted that his principal’s call was not off the cuff, but a product of research.
“What the governor has done was out of research; we checked the provision of the constitution for the meaning of self-defence; we also checked that of the Police Act before His Excellency, the governor, came up with the announcement that people should defend themselves.
“It doesn’t mean that because people are law abiding, then bandits should come to kill them. What we want is for the media to inform the people correctly, because what we are saying also has a psychological aspect to it: once the bandits know that people are restrained from carrying arms, they act with impunity.
“If you go back to the history on how Americans allowed their people to carry arms, it was because of the Barbarians who were attacking people with impunity and government decided that people should carry arms and defend themselves.
“We are doing the same thing the civilised world has done by telling the people to defend themselves,” he said.
The special adviser further said that if all modalities are fully implemented, the threat of banditry in the state would end, even as he called on other states to emulate Katsina State government, especially its self-defence strategy and other internal security initiatives to end banditry in the country.
“I think this is what other states should copy from Katsina State and I’m telling you, if we do this, the days of bandits are numbered and the end to this criminality against our country is over,” he concluded.
Insecurity: Nigeria Winning the War Against Terror – FG
Nigerian troops are making significant gains towards winning the war against terror, President Muhammadu Buhari has said, insisting that he will not leave office with the country still in a security crisis.
The president has also urged the security agencies to continue to turn around the security situation in favour of the country.
National security adviser, Babagana Mungono, disclosed the president’s stance yesterday after the meeting between the president and security chiefs.
According to him, the president is quite happy that there have been tremendous successes as many terrorists are surrendering.
He said large numbers of people are surrendering in the northeast as a consequence of the relentless efforts of the Armed Forces, intelligence and security agencies.Monguno said, “And he’s also made it very, very clear that he’s not ready to exit government as a failure. He is not going to tolerate that; he’s made changes and is ready to make further changes if he is not satisfied.
“He is completely determined to ensure that there’s a turnaround in the fortunes in the theatre of operations.”
The NSA also announced that the President will make his plans known soon about the repentant terrorists.
“Yes, there are plans. But I don’t want to immediately divulge what has been decided on those plans till the president takes a firm decision on the plans. But that is one of the things that he intends to address – the number of people coming. And it’s not just in Nigeria, even in northern Cameroon, you have equally large numbers of people, you know, surrendering to the bona fide agencies of government.
“But that is all as a consequence of the regional cooperation between the various countries and the agencies of those countries,” he added.
The security chief further disclosed that the president will address the prevailing hunger in the country. According to him, the president is not oblivious to the pains of the people, but is working with the vice president and other members of the council to address the issue.
The NSA also stated that there had seen a significant drop in the number of incidences of kidnapping and banditry in the northwest. He, however, said a lot more needs to be done to rid the region of insecurity.
“So, the president is also aware of that, and he has also made certain assertions which we are not willing to say right now till, you know, he’s made the final decision on those things.
“But generally, the atmosphere is improving, especially in the northeastern part of the country. The president is very, very happy with the drive in that part of the country,” he stated.
On the recent killings in Plateau he said, “The president has given certain directives to address that. He also expressed confidence in the efforts of the governor of Plateau.”
On his part, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Nigeria is not a failed state and cannot go the way of Afghanistan.
Speaking in Washington DC during his engagements with international media organisations including the BBC Radio and Television, Bloomberg and Politico, the minister stated that Nigeria is winning the war against terror and the country cannot go the way of Afghanistan where the Taliban, a terrorist group, took over power.
The minister is in the US to meet with international media organisations and think tanks on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and efforts made so far in tackling insurgency, banditry and all forms of criminality.
He said when people were saying Nigeria should invite mercenaries, “the president was focused and maintained that our military has what it takes. The president should be given kudos for believing in our military and deploying both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches,” he said.
Mohammed insisted that the insinuation in certain quarters that the security situation in Nigeria could degenerate to that of Afghanistan was not correct.
“Nigeria is not and will not be a failed state. Yes, we have challenges in some corners of the country but that has not made Nigeria a failed state.
“A failed state is one where basic facilities are not available and everything has broken down, but Nigeria is not in that stage,” he said.
Mohammed said Nigeria is not at war, adding that fake news and disinformation were being used to portray the country as being in a precarious situation.
The minister noted that the development in Afghanistan had proven right the position of President Buhari that when fighting an unconventional war, the country had to be resourceful
“If what happened in Afghanistan is something to go by, then the federal government should be given kudos for the way it has handled insurgency in the last couple of years.
“The lessons from Afghanistan today is that for over 20 years of American intervention and over a trillion dollars spent and thousands of American lives lost, it took the Taliban just a few weeks to recapture Afghanistan.
“This should be a lesson for everybody that when you are fighting an insurgency or movement driven by ideology, it is always difficult to overcome and you must be resourceful, deploying both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.’’
He said while a lot of efforts had been put into kinetic approach, the Nigerian military also engaged in non-kinetic approach, building hospitals, reviving schools, teaching in some of the schools and delivering medical care to the people in affected areas.
According to the minister, the non-kinetic approach to the fighting insurgency in the North-East had led to droves of insurgents coming out to surrender arms and pledge their loyalty to the government.
He noted that with the recent development of Boko Haram members coming out voluntarily to surrender their arms, the country is winning the war against insurgency.
Speaking on banditry, the minister said bandits were now suffering more casualties than ever before.
He assured that the delivery of the Super Tucano military platforms by the US to the military would be a game changer in the fight against banditry.
Nigeria Will Not Answer Alleged Cases Of Human Rights Abuses By Troops, Minister Tells US
Meanwhile, the minister of defence, Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd) has declared that Nigeria has no case to answer on alleged human rights violations levelled against troops fighting in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the North East of Nigeria.
General Magashi refuted this allegation when the United States acting ambassador to Nigeria, Kathleen Fitz Gibbon, paid a courtesy call at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
In a statement by his aide, Mohammad Abdulkadri, the minister told Gibbon that the president and commander-in-chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, respects the domestic and International laws that forbid abuse of human rights.
He said the Nigerian troops are guided in their operations by the extant laws of the land as enshrined in the Constitution and rules of engagements as well as Acts and other laws to warrant any form of abuse.
He said,”The Nigerian military will not renege on her avowed compliance to
the rule of law in a democratic environment and the military’s commitment to defending the national interest, no matter whose ox is gored.”
The minister thanked the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the US Office for Defence Cooperation for the delivery of the NAF Super Tucano aircraft and the training of Nigeria Air Force (NAF) pilots and engineers.
In her remarks, the US envoy Gibbon pledged her country’s continued support to Nigeria, adding that the remaining six Super Tucano jets will arrive in the country by next month.
Gibbon appreciated the progress Nigeria has made in fighting insurgency and the nation’s compliance with protocols.
She appreciated the Minister for the audience and the agreed plan to reconvene another meeting soonest to consider various documents before the Ministry of Defence touching on the way forward for the promotions of human rights and Child Protection Act among other areas of common concern to the two countries.