Hundreds of villagers have deserted their abodes in Katsina State and are living in dire conditions in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. Saude Usman trekked from Zango to Kankara, a distance of about 25kilometres with her one-year-old son strapped on her back and clutching two others.
A mother of six, Saude had lost her grandparents to bandits’ attack on her village three weeks ago.
It was in the night and very dark, we passed through bushes before I got here. I was only lucky to be reunited with my other children after the attack, everybody was running for his life, many of us came here by foot,” she said. “Some of our villagers found my children along the road roaming about and brought them here to the camp,” she added. Binta Sada of Zango who lost her son Abdul during the attack said, “Life is unbearable and it was by the grace of God that I survived also.” A mother of two, Salamatu Zayyanu of Yar Santa village, had to part with N50, 000 and 25 litres of vegetable oil to secure the release of one of her daughters kidnapped by the bandits few days after an invasion of her village. Salamatu is among the oldest inhabitants of the makeshift camp for victims of bandits. She has been there for four months. These are some of the thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) ravaged by bandits attacks that are presently taking refuge at Nuhu Model Science school in Kankara in Katsina State. This particular camp is harbouring no fewer than 2,844 IDPs from Zango, Pawwa, Shirere, Gurbi and Yar Tsamiya, among others. The villages are all from Kankara Local Government area. According to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), from Danmusa Local Government Area, there are 2566 IDPs, Safana, 1624 and 2,566 from Faskari. In fact, most of the IDPs are from Zango which was attacked on July 21 by bandits in which 22 persons were reportedly killed and 15 most of whom are women and young girls, kidnapped. Zango has been deserted like many other villages in the affected councils. Former Deputy Senate President in the 3rd Republic, Mammam Abubakar Danmusa, said the present situation in some of the affected councils, if not properly checked will snowball into terrible situation for Nigeria. He said it is so bad that people are turned into beggars overnight by elements not wanting peace, adding that innocent citizens are sacked from their homes and are losing property to hoodlums who also molest their wives and daughters. The Head of Department, History and Security Studies, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Dr Musa Ahmed Jibril, said there must be sincerity of purpose on the part of government as it reaches out to the bandits for truce and negotiations. According to him, security intelligence gathering must be improved and leadership of security organisations must be revised for improved and new strategies. The chairman, Good Governance and Accountability, Lawal Saidu, who was recently invited by the bandits to witness a truce meeting between them and community in Dandume Local Government Area, said government needs to quietly facilitate the peace agreement between them and their local communities. However, SEMA said it has supported each of the IDP camps with 300 bags of rice, 30 bags of beans, millet, cooking oil and mattresses, among others.