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Why I will not negotiate with bandits – Gov Radda

Katsina State governor, Mallam Dikko Umaru Radda, has said he decided not to negotiate with bandits because he did not want them to feel the government is helpless.

Radda who also advocated for state policing as part of measures to tackle insecurity that has plagued states, including Katsina, said governors need to be in charge of security in their states.

The governor disclosed this in his office on Wednesday when he received a high-powered delegation from the Media Trust Group, publishers of the Daily Trust Newspapers and owners of Trust TV and Trust Radio, led by the Chairman, Board of Directors, Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf, for discussions on a proposed regional summit on security.

Radda said with the current constitutional arrangement, governors seem helpless with regard to the security of their states as all conventional security agencies are answerable to their bosses, except where there are new arrangements, like the Katsina Community Watch Corps which is helping in tackling insecurity.

“Some people are saying that the only way to solve this problem is through non-kinetic means, through negotiations. I told the National Security Adviser (NSA) that in Katsina, I would not negotiate with bandits because we have done it under the previous administration and it didn’t yield positive results.

“We ended up giving them taxpayers money and they equipped themselves, acquired more weapons and relaunched their attacks on innocent citizens of the state,” he said.

He added “People have voted for us because we promised them that we will bring peace and security and without peace, you cannot achieve anything. It is very disheartening when you go to these affected communities and you see the state of their schools and hospitals, some of which have become bandits’ camps. Do we have to continue like that?

“We can’t fold our arms while some people are killing, maiming and raping our people, because we are not in control of the security architecture. So, we decided that we must have some approaches as leaders to protect our people.

“My first approach in dealing with this problem is that I decided not to negotiate with any bandit, because that will give them a sense of feeling that we are helpless and that we have to abide by their own terms and conditions.”

Radda said his decision to form the community watch corps was paying off as bandits have been pushed back to the fringes of the forest. The governor said it was frustrating, however, to hear some narratives that the approach of using trained locals to complement the efforts of the conventional security was wrong, maintaining that those holding such opinion were either completely ignorant of the happenings in the state or they were only being malicious.

“When we wanted to recruit the operatives of Katsina Community Watch, we didn’t give it the approach of either ‘Yan Sakai’ or the approach of vigilante. They were recruited and trained in a formal way by the conventional security agencies. They were trained on combat, weapons handling and every other aspect of security training and they are well-kitted.

“It is a well-thought idea, and it was backed by the law passed by our state assembly and the boys are working hand in hand with the conventional security agents,” he added. He, however, called for a regional approach to tackling the insecurity as many states in the northwest region are battling with banditry and kidnappings.

The governor said with the state security outfit, his administration was able to change the tide of banditry which was hitherto approaching the Katsina metropolis, but now they have been pushed back to the frontline local government areas, which become the battlefield once more.

He said the recent resurgence of banditry was nothing but a show of frustration by the bandits because they had been pushed back, saying that was why they attacked villages and set houses on fire.

The governor said that would not deter his administration as it will keep on pushing until they are severely dealt with banditry.

Governor Radda said another misleading narrative was that in the issue of banditry, it was the Fulani against the Hausa, stating that was untrue and diversionary.

“Go inside Katsina now and try to differentiate who is Hausa and who is Fulani. You can’t just do that. We are all the same people. I am of Fulani extraction from both parents. But the bandits are only criminals and we must treat them as such,” he said.

Among the Media Trust delegation was the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Malam Ahmed Shekarau and the Kano Regional Manager, Shamsuddeen Sani Hussaini.

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