Augustine Okezie, Katsina and Okodili Ndidi, Abuja


KATSINA State Government has adopted a carrot approach towards ending the lingering banditry in the state.

It is dangling houses, market stalls  and farmlands  to bandits willing to surrender and handover their arms to security operatives.

Already, a leader of the  bandits known as’’ Sada’’, has voluntarily surrendered to troops at Forward Operation Base at Dansadau. He   submitted three AK 47 rifles, one sub-machine gun and two magazines.

The Secretary to Government (SSG), Mustapha Inuwa, announced the Aminu Masari administration’s soft-landing measures for  would-be repentant bandits during  a news conference at  the Government House  on Monday.

Inuwa,  who also disclosed that the state had  so far supported  security agencies with  N4.274b  ,  said the resettlement  centres near Rugu,  Yantumaki, Maidabino  and Sabwa/Faskari forests for the repentant bandits  is being  planned  by the government.

According to him, the centres would have schools, health care centres, markets and farmlands for cattle rearing as well as farming.

He said: ’’We have completed plans for those who accepts to leave to an approved settlement near Rugu Forest, this is part of a design by government to clear the forests from being inhabited by bandits, the committee is set to work on the in needed infrastructure any time from now’’

‘’Some the settlement areas being considered include, Yantumaki-Maidabino forest area and Sabwa/Faskari forests’’

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He explained that the N4.274b financial support to security outfits was used for  the provision of infrastructure, logistics and  payment of allowances of security personnel .

Inuwa also explained that “the recent presidential directive on change of strategy, renewed vigor and increased personnel in the military campaign against security challenges in the Northwest and Katsina state in particular,” had led to a reduction in the atrocities of  bandits

“The incidence of armed banditry and kidnapping and other forms of criminalities for ransom have significantly subsided compared to few months back when these incidences were a daily occurrence,’’ he said.

Just  as the SSG spoke, the Acting Director, Media Operations of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen.  Bernard Onyeuko, said Dada surrendered following intensified pressure by  Operation SAHEL Sanity.

He said that the bandit  was currently being profiled for further necessary action by the civil authorities.

Onyeuko also disclosed that troops conducting stop- and -search along Bingi Road  arrested a suspected bandit, Isah Shehu.

He said that investigation revealed that  Shehu,   addressed as “Commander” by members of his group, concealed  a  camouflage in his bag .

Meanwhile, scores of bandits of the   notorious ‘Dangote’ gang have been killed in a recent airstrike  by the Air Component of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

According to a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Maj.- Gen. John Enenche, the operation was carried out following intelligence reports that the leader of the killed   bandits, ‘Dangote’ and some his gang members,  were  operating a new camp in the Southern edge of the Doumborou Forest in Zamfara State.

The Nation