The Katsina State government, on Thursday, joined its counterpart in Zamfara State, insisting that it was not ready to negotiate with marauding bandits terrorising the North-West zone.
The State governor, Dikko Radda, who disclosed this at Defence Headquarters in Abuja shortly after a closed-door meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said the State government took the decision because past negotiations didn’t yield any positive result.
Recall that Zamfara State governor, Dauda Lawal, had vowed that his administration would not negotiate with bandits but it would rather support security agencies to stamp out banditry and other forms of criminality in the State.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Governor Radda said although the government had resolved to use both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to solve the security challenges, it would first put pressure on the bandits till they come out themselves that they were ready for negotiation rather than meeting anyone of them for that.
“For now, we will not be able to negotiate with the bandits at the point of this advantage. We want to negotiate with bandits when there is already a lot of pressure on them, and then they can now come out and say that, ‘look, we want to sit down and negotiate’.
“At that point, we can negotiate with them and resettle them back into the society,” Radda, who doubles as the chairman of North-West Governors’ Forum, told Defence correspondents.
He added that his government launched Community Security Corps with a view to strengthening the military and other security agencies fighting the terrorists in the Northwest, disclosing that members of the Corps were recruited from the areas that face banditry.
“Yes, Community Security Watch was launched, and we were able to recruit them from the locals, from the communities where the banditry was taking place and efforts of the State government is to strengthen the military and also other security outfits so that together, they can do an operation that will reduce effects of insecurity on our people.
“In the last administration, what they did was to negotiate with bandits, and the negotiation has not yielded any result, we feel that let’s use kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to address the issue.
“I came to see the Chief of Defence Staff in order to strengthen the collaboration and partnership that exist between our State and the military because the military plays a very key role in reducing the insecurity in the country.
“You’re all aware what we’re experiencing in Katsina State, and the efforts the State government is making to reduce the effects of insecurity in our State and the collaboration with the military is the only way out and other security outfits that we have in the country.
“Jointly, we can do something that will reduce effects on our people, and also allow our people to go about doing their economic activities as enshrined in the constitution,” the governor said.
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Musa urged the governors from security-challenged areas to always dialogue among themselves on how to permanently curtail the insecurity in their respective domains.
He pledged that the military high command would not relent in its efforts to neutralise any criminal element disturbing the peace of the zone and the country at large.