Aminu Masari of Katsina State, on Tuesday said seven states in the North West and North Central have agreed to recruit 3,000 special vigilantes to assist in combating insecurity, most especially banditry and kidnapping.
Masari, who made this disclosure while fielding questions from journalists on the sideline of a consultative meeting with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and traditional rulers, in Katsina, said the vigilantes will be trained by the Nigeria Police Force.
According to him, governors of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Katsina and Nasarawa states had met and agreed to recruit the personnel to assist security agencies in addressing the security peculiarities in their states.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Masari was quoted to have said that “I am not speaking for myself, but on behalf of the governors of the above mentioned states. In fact, they are supposed to be at this consultative meeting we are holding here in Katsina, but I am speaking on their behalf.
“The issue of banditry in the North West and parts of North Central has transformed to insurgency, therefore, we developed different mechanisms to fight the menace. There are over 150 groups of bandits in the forests that owe allegiance to their different leaders. These people don’t have ideology, religion or sense of direction, they are just like wild animals,” Masari said.
In his remark, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said he was in Katsina with journalists from 22 media organisations to get first hand information on the issue of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling among others.
Meanwhile, Masari has raised alarm about the relocation of hungry bandits, driven to the fringes, to communities to steal farm produce ahead of the upcoming harvest season He raised the alarm at a consultative briefing he held with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on the security situation in the state.
Masari hinted: “Because of hunger, bandits are moving towards communities around the forest area. They know that harvest time is approaching and their plan is to harvest crops and steal food items planted by farmers.”
He explained that bandits had been driven to the fringes in the state as a result of measures put in place, including suspension of mobile telecommunication networks and ban of sale of petroleum products in many filling stations, just as he charged the security chiefs, who were in attendance at the briefing, to wake up to the call and deal decisively with the criminals, who were neither fighting for a religious or ideological cause.