Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State, borrowing a lesson from his Zamfara counterpart, has directed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Mr Mustapha Inuwa, to arrange a meeting with suspected bandits at their hideouts.
The governor said he and security chiefs wanted to dialogue with the bandits, to ensure peace returns to the state.
The Director General on Media and Publicity, Mr Abdu Labaran, made this this known in a statement on Thursday in Katsina.
He said that the decision was taken at an extraordinary security meeting, held on Wednesday in Katsina.
Labaran said those in attendance were Masari, his deputy, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu, Speaker, State House of Assembly, Alhaji Tasiu Musa Maigari and Secretary to the Government of the State, Mustapha Inuwa.
Others were Caretaker Committee Chairmen of the front-line Local Governments Areas of the state, Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir, security chiefs and representatives of herdsmen.
“Masari convened the meeting to afford stakeholders the opportunity to give their contributions toward finding lasting solutions to the problem.
“He declared that the spate of wanton bloodshed was enough, and that the state of insecurity must be reversed in Katsina without further delay.
“I am fully prepared and ready to personally go to anywhere to meet with anybody for dialogue on how to stamp out bandit attacks in the state,” he said.
The governor threatened to take necessary measures to end banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, even if the plan didn’t work.
Masari said, “people should realize that once there is wanton bloodshed, there won’t be peace in that society.
“It is the duty of all of us to contribute to bringing an end to this state of insecurity.
“Make no mistake about it, anybody who has a hand in the bloodbath must account for it sooner or later.
“Those who have information but decide to keep quiet are themselves guilty of the same crime”.
Katsina has been under unrelenting attacks by bandits and kidnappers, despite the efforts of the military and police.
There were two incidents of abduction and banditry carried out between Sunday and Tuesday.
Bandits struck in Shimfida in Jibiya Local Government Area on Sunday, and engaged the military and police in gun battle. Three women were caught up in the crossfire and wounded.
The bandits burnt down three military vehicles and another operational vehicle belonging to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, according to the spokesman of the Katsina Police Command, ASP Anaz Gezawa..
On Tuesday, gunmen against struck, raiding the village of Wurma in Kurfi LGA, Katsina. They took away five women.
Anas Gezawa said 15 women were initially abducted by the gunmen who escaped before the arrival of local police.
However, due to an intense police patrol within the general area, 10 of the victims were rescued and reunited with their families.
According to Gezawa, an unspecified number of cattle was also taken away by the attackers.
Governor Masari is certainly concerned that the attacks have continued, despite all the efforts at crackdown.
Zamfara used to be in the same position. But Governor Bello Matawalle and the police chiefs in the state have pursued another policy direction, by negotiating with the bandits to surrender their arms. Some modicum of peace has returned to the state, ever since.