Violence-ridden home state of President Muhammadu Buhari may heave a sigh of relief soon if Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, is able to convince the hordes of brutal bandits in the state to the incessant killing in the state.
At a so-called peace meeting on Wednesday, the state government met with members of a group of bandits terrorizing Katsina and the governor expressed willingness to strike a ceasefire deal with them.
Speaking at the meeting with Governor Aminu Masari at Dankolo village, some of the bandits said most of them were forced into banditry by the community, security operatives, traditional rulers and local judges’ hatred for them.
Idris Yayande, one of the bandits, said: “We have our complaints as well, most of it was some of our people that were arrested like Alhaji Baldu, Alhaji Lawal and Ibrahim Nakutama who were picked on return from hajj. I was arrested also and up till now, I have not been told of my offence. I was detained for 15 months before I was released.
“For the past five months, since the fasting period when we met with the community, we have not attacked them. We have no one in captivity. If you hear anything of such is not from this camp. Of course, there are places where attacks and kidnappings are happening because we don’t have control of such places.
“But this place that we took an oath to stop, they are protected. We are doing our best. You can see farms nowadays which we had in the past vowed that no one will work on them. But you can see people on them farming.”
Haruna Mazge, another alleged bandit said: “We are tired of hiding as well, please and please, since the government has moved in, let us stop this.”
Responding, Masari said, “You cannot be keeping people for over two years without any charge. So, for those kinds of people, we are going to release them on bail, if the police are able to have charges against them, we will look at the charges.
“The hope is that it will bring peace to Katsina state and northwest. We believe we have started well and there is nothing better than peace and dialogue. Once you are exchanging views, certainly, there will be a solution.”