TRADITIONAL rulers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Katsina State have been accused by presidency officials of funding and arming bandits to cause mayhem that has resulted in the spike in attacks over recent weeks.
Over the last few months, Katsina State has witnessed a surged in armed attacks on communities by armed bandits. Exasperated with the insecurity, local people have taken to the streets to protest and in the process have torn down President Buhari’s banners, which about a year ago was unthinkable given that Katsina is his home state.
Governor Aminu Masari has called on the federal government to come to their assistance after a truce he entered into with the bandits collapsed. Under the terms of the deal, Governor Masari allowed them to keep their arms and run legitimate businesses in return for them ending the violence but of late, the bandits have reneged on the agreement.
President Buhari’s spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “It is not that we are making direct accusations on anyone but it is also true that even in the president’s native state of Katsina, some traditional rulers have been found complicit in collaboration with the bandits to harm their own people. In neighbouring Zamfara, emirs and district heads, quite a number of them have been swept out of office as there are beneficiaries of whatever rotten system you have.”
He added that during the height of violent conflicts in Zamfara State, the Nigerian Air Force stationed aircraft at Katsina airport from where they could launch attacks against the bandits. However, Mallam Shehu said once the aircraft take off, unscrupulous elements in Katsina would quickly inform the bandits in Zamfara State that an attack was imminent, giving them ample time to take cover.
Mallam Shehu added: “They realised that once aircraft took off from Katsina airport, before it got to Zamfara for operation, telephone calls would have been made and targets would have disappeared. In the end, we were forced to be flying from distant places like Kaduna and Kano in order to undertake operations in Zamfara.
“Some people see President Buhari and think he has all the solutions. No, all of us as citizens have a duty to the nation to provide information to our armed forces.”