Opinion: Masari and the new peace accord By Prof. Abdussamad Umar Jibia
Governor Masari has planned to meet various gangs of criminals operating in Katsina state with a view to negotiating with them to bring an end to incessant attacks in local governments bordering Zamfara state.
This is not the first time the Governor will make such arrangement. It was done in 2016 but the bandits reneged and went back to their crimes. These are the same people that the Governor is going to dialogue with.
And we know the effect of peace accord in Zamfara. The criminals with their insatiable hunger for blood, money and women cannot be contented with the little any state Government can give them. Zamfara, thus, became their base from where they launch attacks in Katsina. They freely sell whatever they steal from Katsina in Zamfara markets.
This is what we should expect when a deal is struck between them and Katsina state Government. Kano, Sokoto and Kaduna states should be ready to be receiving these unholy nocturnal guests when they expand their territory to Katsina.
But who is to blame? Much as I cannot whitewash Masari and exonerate him from blame, I would like to believe that the Nigerian Military and their Commander-in-Chief must take part of the blame.
In the case of Masari, he could have combated the menace of banditry when it was still a smaller problem at the beginning of his first term. He did not. In fact, he did not show that he cared until it became a very serious issue. He left everything to his SSG who does not have the confidence of the majority of Katsina people I discuss security with them.
In fact, villagers now openly blame Inuwa for their predicament. But I don’t. Why should I when I didn’t vote for him? He is answerable to the Governor we elected.
But the Governor himself relies on the Army and their Air Force colleagues plus the Nigerian Police to combat the bandits. All of these have performed far below expectations. Only last week the Army ran and abandoned their vehicles and the convoy of civilians they are supposed to protect along Gurbi –Shimfida road in Jibia Local Government.
This resulted in a horrible carnage and massive kidnapping. At least 25 people are now with the bandits who are demanding 150 million Naira before they release them. Their reason? They kidnapped them after defeating the Nigerian Army.
At a point the SSG himself lamented in a press interview how the Army was refusing to cooperate with them in the fight against banditry. According to him, there are indigenes that were ready to guide the military to bandits’ locations but the Army did not show enough readiness.
All these are happening when we have a President and Commander-in-Chief. His Excellency, my choice President seems to be approaching the issue with the 1984 method. In the Nigeria of 2019, you cannot give money to a subordinate to work for you and rely on his report to tell you that the job is done.
But the President seems to be relying on the reports of the security forces. If this is truly what is happening, then it is not proper. Why is he a politician? A grassroot President is someone who has supporters in every nook and corner of the country and who can thus get out of the box to get information from unconventional sources and act in an unconventional way.
It is on this note I sympathize with my Governor Right Honourable Aminu Masari. At the end of his deal, my people in Jibia may be able to sleep with all their eyes closed, but I pity myself and other people living in neighbouring Kano, Sokoto and Kaduna over which Masari has no control, but PMB has.
Professor Abdussamad Umar Jibia is a Lecturer in the Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Bayero University Kano.