Katsina in the eyes of the storm – By Professor Abdussamad Umar Jibia
Yesterday Friday the 3rd of July 2020 I opened my social media account to comment on the continuation of bandit attacks in Katsina communities despite the heavy presence of the Army and their Chief. The previous night there was an attack on Kandawa community in Batsari LGA where a man was killed and two other men and two women were kidnapped. Earlier in the week there was another attack in Bakai, Faskari LGA in which eight people were killed. Within the same week, two villages were attacked in Kankara LGA in which two people were killed.
These are the ones I know.
With so much presence of the Army and Air Force backed by their Police colleagues, there are only four possibilities:
1.The military has no intention of ending the banditry. Already there are plenty of speculations that the military doesn’t want the insecurity in the North to end because of the financial gains they make through security votes. Another perspective is that since most of the security personnel are not from the area it doesn’t matter to them whether or not the banditry ends.
2. Our intelligence system has collapsed. Otherwise how can an Army keep telling the public to report suspected criminals in their area? Are they operating without any intelligence? The criminals, especially their leaders, who operate in Katsina are well known tot the state and many of them are indigenous to the communities. There are well known communities that allegedly have criminals in majority. How does that elude the undercover arms of the Police and military?
3. The military is poorly equipped.
4. The military is demoralized.
But just as I was about to write my thoughts I saw a post from a well known young man from Jibia concerning the many special advisors each of the three wives the Governor has. I was flabbergasted. When I called him to ask for clarification he sent me an interview Mallam Mahadi Shehu gave to a local radio in Katsina. Mahadi is a medical practitioner, an activist and a businessman. The fiery brother of one of my very good friends has made a disclosure of how Katsina state Government under Masari spent 24 billion Naira of security budget over the last five years.
Yaya Mahadi said what he gave is a tip of the iceberg and in case Katsina State Government denies he will make more disclosures and mention names. It is already public, but in case you didn’t see it, here are some of the things he mentioned.
In May 2018 N500m was released to SA (political) to attend APC convention in Abuja. The money was not used for the convention anyway. It was shared.
A sum of 684m was released as allowances for 10 policemen to guard the wind power project at Lambar Rimi in four years (an average of N1.4m per policeman per month). According to Mallam Mahadi, when he visited the site there were only 4 policemen who claimed they never received that kind of money.
A total of N572m was used to purchase handphones for 12 members of State Security Council, 34 acting local government chairmen and members of the state house of assembly.
N250m was given as a gift to a visiting security Chief who came from Abuja.
N165m was purportedly given to the Emir of Katsina to patrol Rugu forest to see the extent of damage on communities affected by banditry.
The painful thing is that the money is taken from the Security budget meant to be used to protect lives and property of the masses of Katsina people. Otherwise many of us will not even mention it. Of course we are awaiting Government’s response.
Abdussamad Umar Jibia