Nigerian army, Gov Masari ask repentant bandits to surrender their arms
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari and the Army yesterday called on leaders of repentant bandits and their followers to hand over their weapons to the government, The Nation reports.
They said this would ensure return of peace and security.
The governor said the call became necessary following reported cases of security skirmishes and reprisals among the repentant bandits and growing security challenges in the forest.
In a related development, Governor Masari has advocated a holistic approach that will see the three tiers of government being involved in disarming and rehabilitating repentant bandits.
The call was made during a stakeholders’ meeting involving the leadership of the Army, DSS, security operatives, Myetti Allah, repentant bandits and the media.
It was held at the Banquet Hall, Old Government House, Katsina.
The governor said that the task of disarmament and rehabilitation of the bandits was not for one tier of the government alone.
He said: “The project should not be carried out piecemeal. We prefer a holistic arrangement. The Army should decide the place, location and time for the disarmament and then government at all levels must come together to disarm and rehabilitate these repentant bandits.
“It is not a task for one government alone, neither is it for a state to embrace disarmament, while others stay watching.’’
Masari said the meeting was convened to review the security situation in the state since the successful dialogue held between the state government and the repentant bandits at their strongholds in August.
He added that the meeting was also called to discuss with the representatives of stakeholders in the security equation in the state on how to take the dialogue process to the next level.
“We asked them to go back, discuss and come forward on how best we can approach the process of disarmament and rehabilitation as well as how best we can provide sufficient re-orientation for youths in the forests, who have been armed by their leaders and ensure a quick return of the state to peace.”
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Sokoto, who said he had the backing of the Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Defence Staff, advised the repentant bandits to lead their groups to surrender every weapon they had hidden.
He noted that the law frowned at illegally acquired arms and ammunition.