KATSINA State government has entered into a peace deal with bandits terrorising eight local government areas in the state involving the handing over of some of their arrested members in exchange for the release of kidnap victims.
Over recent years, Nigeria has been wracked by insecurity as the Boko Haram insurgency rages in the northeast, the Middle Belt is taken over by armed Fulani cattle herdsmen and bandits have run riot in Zamfara State. Kidnapping and armed robbery have also been rife in many other states and according to Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina, his state too is now under siege.
Of late, moves have been stepped up to find a solution to the problem, with the government entering into dialogue with the bandits. Under the terms of a deal struck yesterday, six bandits detained by security agencies who had been terrorising eight local government areas in the state have been released in exchange for some kidnap victims who were recently abducted.
Dandume, Sabuwa, Faskari, Kankara, Safana, Danmusa, Batsari and Jibiya local government areas had come under intense bandits attacks for long. With the deal being struck, the bandits will cease operating and would also handover to government people they kidnapped that are in their custody.
Governor Masari explained that part of the agreement was the handover of bandits in detention who had not been prosecuted. He said the process started on Monday, with the release of five people, two females and three males, while 20 more will be released before the end of September.
According to the governor, many more kidnap victims would be released as part of the peace deal. Governor Masari expressed the hope that the process would be completed within the next one or two days so that the government would start the second phase of the peace initiatives which began with his visit to the kidnappers hideouts.