By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has attributed banditry and other security challenges that have hitherto bedevilled the state to the systematic neglect of herdsmen by successive governments and the inability to provide social amenities to their communities.
He said although the state government had been able to successfully persuade the herdsmen to renounce their criminal acts and embrace peace, the government must however put in place the structures that would sustain the peace permanently.
Masari, in a statement issued to THISDAY on Thursday by his Director of Media and Publicity, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, said the herders complained of abandonment by successive administrations, with no government presence to give them any sense of belonging as citizens of Nigeria.
He added that after the government’s dialogue with the commanders of the bandits in the eight affected local government areas nearly two months ago, kidnapping and other forms of banditry have completely stopped in the state.
“Our engagements with the bandits have been successful because there has never been any more kidnapping in the state since then. Also, all known persons kidnapped by the bandits have been released by their captors,” he said.
But Katsina State, according to the governor, does not have the resources to provide the necessary infrastructure for the herders’ communities.
“Because of the lack of funds available to us, we have to look for support outside to cater for, and carry along the herders by providing social amenities like schools, clinics and water points for human and animals use, and cattle routes,” he added.
He explained that in the past two years, his administration had built 10 primary schools and 10 clinics in some of the herders’ communities, and has concluded plans to build 10 more, which would have been built but for the activities of the bandits.
Governor Masari further disclosed that the state government has also expended over N100 million to demarcate cattle routes, which had been encroached upon by farmers.