Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has said that most bandits are of the Fulani ethnic stock as himself, adding that they speak Fulfulde and also profess the same religious beliefs as himself.
Masari said that many Northerners might not like his revelation, but maintained that his disclosure remained the truth.
The Governor spoke on Monday as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme.
When asked about the identities of bandits terrorising the entire North-West and other parts of the country, Masari said: “They are the same people like me, who speak the same language like me, who profess the same religious beliefs like me.
“So, what we have here on ground are bandits; they are not aliens, they are people we know, they are people that have been living with us for 100s of years.
“The infiltration we have from some West African countries and North African countries are also people of the Fulani extraction.
“Majority of those involved in this banditry are Fulani whether it is palatable or it is not palatable, but that is the truth. I am not saying 100% of them are Fulani, but majority of them are, and these are people who live in the forest and their main occupation is rearing of cattle.”
The Governor had, effective August 31, 2021, closed Jibia-Gurbin-Baure Road and Kankara-Sheme Road to all motorists, advising them to use Funtua Road as an alternative route.
He also suspended sales of cows, and other animals at markets in 14 local government areas of the state in a move to curb the worsening security situations in the North-West state.
Commenting on Monday, Masari said the measures were “painful” but “necessary”, adding that the efforts were working but it had not recorded the level of results he wanted.
He noted that over 100 groups were in the forest “all made up of bandits, kidnappers, rapists and armed robbers”, adding that all measures would be employed to curtail the situation before the end of the year.
Furthermore, the Governor said the restrictions in the last few days had drastically reduced the movement of bandits in large groups.
He said some filling stations in isolated locations service the bandits who mostly move on motorcycles.
“We are not totally shutting all the filling stations. In local governments, we said two filling stations will operate and in those filling stations, nobody will sell fuel in jerrycans and gallons.
“There may be some hardship but it is better now to take the hardship now in order to restore normalcy. We have a list of some of these filling stations that are dispensing fuel in jerrycans,” Masari said
The Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission had recently asked some major telecommunications firms to shut down communication sites in Zamfara State from September 3 to September 17, 2021 due to the insecurity in the North-West state.
The order came exactly six months after declaring Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’.
Speaking on the programme, Masari hailed the decision in Zamfara. He said bandits operate on the strength of their informants whom he said were scattered all over the state, dispensing security information to the criminals in the bush through the use of mobile phones and other communication gadgets.
He said many military operations have been sabotaged due to the activities of informants, thereby, affecting the onslaught of the Nigerian Air Force and other sister agencies against the bandits.
The Governor urged the Federal Government to shut down telecommunication sites in at least 13 local government areas in Katsina rife with banditry.
“We are not advocating the total shut down in Katsina State but we have about 13 local government areas on the border that should be shut and this will give us the opportunity to operate without informants,” he said.
Asked about his thoughts on open grazing and the recent decision by his Southern colleagues, the Katsina State Governor said the state would have a law banning the “roaming” of livestock.
He, however, said provisions would be made for where the animals would be ranched before the law takes effect.
“Herdsmen should stay in one place. Roaming about should not be encouraged. In fact, for us, it is un-Islamic. Why do you have animals that you cannot feed and you have to go to other people’s land and farm and you say that is right? I don’t think it is right.
“We intend to have a law banning (cattle) roaming but before we do that, we would make provisions for where the animals would stay,” Masari said.