The governor of Katsina State, Bello Aminu Masari has cried for help to put a stop to the increasing spate of kidnapping, banditry and other related offenses in his domain.
Masari who raised the alarm on Monday when he received the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who led other principal officers on working visit to the state, warned that if the security challenges in the state were not nipped in the bud, it could spread to other parts of the country.
He said, “As a nation, we have a problem. And I think the sooner we understand one thing that Nigeria is a body. If it one finger is sick, the whole body is sick. Because it can be cancerous and consume the whole body.
“So some people who feels that if there is problem in some certain areas, it doesn’t affect them, they are joking. Some years ago, if you talk about kidnapping here (Katsina), people will laugh. When we had our first amnesty program, it was cattle rustling, there was no kidnapping, no banditry. It was simply cattle rustling occassioned by shoot out but not like bandits can organize themselves in 200 or 300 and invade a whole community.
“So, if we don’t do what is urgently needed of us to do, we don’t know after 10 years, what will come. But certainly, we will be tested. We have to prepare ourselves and people that will be tested,” Masari stated.
He also added further saying; “I appeal to all of us as Nigerians, the issue of criminalities, banditry, kidnapping has nothing to do with party affiliation because I told the people that whenever the bandits come their village, do they ask for your membership cards? Do they ask of what faith are you? They don’t.
“And to those who feel it is an opportunity to bash the government to stop, because there have to be Nigeria before you become who you are or there have to be Katsina before you come. So there has to be peace. So it is for all of us to understand that what Nigeria is facing now is beyond partisan consideration. We should approach it as a people, nation and conquer it.
“Let’s behave like the ordinary hunters, they would all chase antelopes, until when they kill it then they would all sit.
“So let us kill the banditry, kidnapping and all forms of divisible criminality, then we come to contest for power, then we can be as that we can do. But for now, let us first, save the country, for us at local level, save the state before we start fighting for who becomes what.
“I consider what is going on as a warning signal for us to seat up and do what is necessary because unless there massive intervention to give the people living in the forest that which will afford them to earn a living.
“So fundamentally, there must be an aggressive approach to educate the people. Secondly, we have to have a rehabilitation programme to make the forest conducive for the people who live on it, survive on it to continue to live on it.
“So the state do not have the necessary resources to aggressively do that. Because what we are trying to do now is to normalize the issues and start addressing the issue fundamentals. Because unless you normalize the issue, the area will not be calm and peaceful for you to do anything. And people living in the forest expect by the end of the rainy season to see some actions going on. They are not asking for too much, they are asking for schools, pathways for their cattle and other animals, clinics, roads for human and animals, water points, rehabilitation of dams that are in the forest,” he said.