Kidnapping, especially by bandits, has become a booming business in the country, Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, has said.
Masari noted that bandits who, hitherto, engaged in cattle rustling graduated to kidnapping on realising that they could make thousands or millions of naira as ransoms.
The governor spoke at the weekend just as the Bauchi State wing of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) lend their voice to the call last week by Governor Bala Mohammed for herdsmen and other Nigerians to be allowed to carry firearms.
Masari, at a two-day security awareness seminar for Jumma’at Mosque Imams and other Islamic religious leaders in the state, condemned the rising insecurity in the country, especially the Northwest.
He told the participants of the seminar titled ’’Combating insecurity through da’awa,’ that kidnapping and killing of innocent people needed to be tackled through community-driven arrangement.
Masari also charged the clerics to spearhead communal participation in security arrangements within their localities rather than wait for security operatives whose number is inadequate to protect a state with over seven million people.
His words: ’’Nigeria being the richest among countries in the Sahel region has suddenly drawn the attention of those engaged in kidnapping business and selling of guns and so on, because here, they can kidnap somebody and get N10,000, N50,000, N100,000 and millions more.
“There is no doubt that this country is facing divergent security challenges, although the problem of Boko Haram has reduced but banditry and kidnapping is still with us.
“The bandits started with rustling of cows later killings, kidnapping, raping of women and girls, burning of villages and food stuffs belonging to residents of the state.
“We must go back to our tested traditional and religious method of enforcing security. The situation degenerated because of the failure of the religious leaders to play their assigned roles of enforcing discipline and good conduct amongst members.’’
Allow Nigerians to bear arms, Bauchi herders advocate
Also at the weekend, the Bauchi State wing of MACBAN called on the Federal Government to allow every Nigerian bear firearms to protect themselves.
The association Chairman in the state, Sadiq Ahmed, told The Nation in Bauchi that since the Federal Government could no longer protect its citizens, it was better for everyone to protect themselves from bandits.
Ahmed said:”The government has become irresponsible,that a Fulani man has now become an outcast in his own country. All his wealth has been crippled by the activities of cattle rustlers. What do you expect him to do? Let everybody protect themselves, let everybody carry arms. You don’t allow a few bandits to come and ruin you, kill you and your family. A few people cannot be terrorising everybody.”
“Although in a normal situation, nobody should be allowed to carry arms except those that are lincensed to do so but if the Federal Government had taken the responsibility of protecting lives of citizens serious, no one would dare have reason to carry arms”
‘You need to ask yourself, is the government doing enough to protect the lives of herdsmen, I won’t fault governor Bala Mohammed for the statement. He is very right, after all he did not say herdsmen should go and cause chaos. No one faulted Benue Governor Samuel Ortom when he said herdsmen should leave his state.”
100 killed by herdsmen in Benue
No fewer than 100 persons were killed by herders in six Local Government Areas in Benue State.
Special Adviser to Governor Ortom on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ken Achabo, who made this known, also raised the alarm that armed herdsmen had occupied some parts of the LGAs, grazing, destroying farm lands and harvested crops .
Achabo, in statement made available to reporters in Makurdi, named the councils as Gwer West, Guma, Makurdi ,Logo, kwande and Agatu.
He also described the call by Governor Muhammed for everyone to be allowed to bear arms as an “invitation to anarchy. ”
Achaba, who called on the Federal Government to compensate victims of herdsmen attacks, especially in Benue State, appealed to the people to remain calm as Ortom was determined to ensure their safety.
107 herders returned to Kaduna not 4,000
The leader of the Fulani community in Ladduga in Kachia LGA of Kaduna State, Ardo Goge, has said that reports that 4,000 herders returned from the Southern part of the country was wrong.
Gode put the figure at 107 herders.
“As a leader I know those who came back from the South in recent times. I can tell you that only 107 of them arrived Kaduna with their children, wives and elders. They told me that they trekked through the bush paths for four days and later joined vehicles to Ladduga,” he told reporters.
He added: “We visited all the their new settlement areas with some journalists and other stake holders so as to debunk the report on social media that is saying, there are over 4,000 herders.”
“These herdsmen are our own people and we have been living with them in peace and harmony for many years before they migrated to south and now they are back due to threat of attack”
“They are not foreigners, they are Kaduna state indigenes it is the crisis in the south west that brought them back.”
Act on ethnic attacks, Gov. Matawalle tells Buhari
Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive action on the reported violence in parts of the Southwest.
He said the President needed to wade in because ethnic hate and regional dichotomy would not help the country which is still battling with insurgency.
Matawalle said: ‘It is inexcusable that at this stage of our journey as a nation, we are yet to come to terms with the fact that God has made it destiny for us to live as one people. It is unfortunate that while our counterparts elsewhere are fusing up from particularity to generality as a people, we are fast sliding backwards from semblance of generality to particularity as a people.
‘I also urge my colleague, the Governor of Oyo State to take concrete steps in curtailing the ongoing senseless attacks and ensure that such happenings do not occur again.
“We are battling with insurgency and banditry as a nation and here are supposed law-abiding citizens unleashing mayhem on innocent citizens to compound the spate of insecurity in the country.’
Avoid champions of ethnic agitation, PGF boss advises
Nigerians have been advised by the Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, to distance themselves from persons spearheading ethnic agitations.
He also challenged political leaders to rise up to their responsibility of providing leadership by promoting national discourse on unity.
Lukman was reacting to last week’s crisis between a Hausa Tomato seller and a kiosk owner in Shasha, Ibadan, Oyo State.
A statement by the DG reads: “While it is important that all law-abiding citizens dissociate themselves from all the campaigns of ethnic hatred going on in the country, we must caution our political leaders to wake up to the responsibility of providing political leadership on a matter that has taken over every political debate.
“As it is today, it is impossible to debate any issue in Nigeria without the attempt to interpret it along ethnic and religious lines.
“We need to appeal to our political leaders to take all the steps required to move our nation forward, away from these politics of ethnic hatred. The only way our children and Nigerians can be maximally and confidently competitive in every sphere in our contemporary knowledge driven world is when events in our country are inspiring citizens beyond the clamour for ethnic hatred.
“Instead of hating each other, can our leaders take steps to begin to push us to love each other? The need to guarantee justice at all times, irrespective of who is affected is about the only route for peaceful co-existence in the country. Once that is compromised, the foundation of our democracy will be eroded.
“The burden facing our political leaders is to begin to take every necessary step to move our people and our nation from all parts of the country towards ensuring fairness in every part of the country.
“The basis of fairness must be such that to love ourselves, we must love others. Once we can’t guarantee fairness, we should delete the word love in our vocabulary. Therefore, we must demand that our political leaders should show love to themselves by ensuring fair conduct of all citizens as a basis for citizens’ love to leaders and the nation.”
Lukman then called on the All Progressives Congress leadership to convene emergency meetings to strengthen the process of engendering sustained peaceful co-existence in the country.