Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari said most of the bandits were of Fulani ethnicity like him, adding that they spoke Fulfulde and held the same religious beliefs as him.
He said many northerners might not like his revelation, but maintained that his revelation remained the truth.
The governor spoke on Monday as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ program watched by The punch.
Asked about the identity of the bandits who are terrorizing the entire North West and other parts of the country, Masari said: “They are the same people as me, who speak the same language as me, who profess the same religious beliefs as me.
“So what we have here on earth are bandits; these are not aliens, these are people we know, these are people who have lived with us for 100 years.
“The infiltration that we have from some countries in West Africa and North Africa are also people of Fulani origin.
“The majority of people involved in this banditry are Fulani, whether that’s acceptable or not, but it’s the truth. I’m not saying that 100% of them are Fulani but the majority of them are, and they are people who live in the forest and their main occupation is raising cattle.
“Painful but necessary restriction of movement”
The punch had previously reported that effective August 31, 2021, Masari had closed the Jibia-Gurbin-Baure road and the Kankara-Sheme road to all motorists, advising them to use the Funtua road as an alternative route.
The governor too suspended sales of cows and other animals at markets in 14 local government areas across the state in an effort to curb deteriorating security conditions in North West State.
Commenting on Monday, Masari said the measures are “painful” but “necessary”, adding that the efforts are working but he has not seen the level of results he wanted.
He noted that more than 100 groups are in the forest “all made up of bandits, kidnappers, rapists and armed robbers”, adding that all measures would be taken to stem the situation before the end of the year.
“Gas stations in isolated places closed”
In addition, the governor said restrictions in recent days have significantly reduced the movement of bandits in large groups.
He said some gas stations in isolated locations served the bandits who mostly traveled on motorbikes.
“We are not completely closing all service stations. In local governments, we said two gas stations will operate and in these gas stations, no one will sell fuel in jerry cans and gallons.
“There may be difficulties, but it is better now to take the difficulties now in order to restore normality. We have a list of some of these gas stations that dispense fuel in jerry cans,” Masari said.
“NCC should close telecom sites in 13 LGAs”
The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission, has recently asked some major telecommunications companies to close communication sites in Zamfara State from 3 to 17 September 2021 to insecurity in North West State.
The order came exactly six months after Zamfara State was declared a ‘no-fly zone‘.
Speaking on the program, Masari hailed the decision to Zamfara. He said the bandits operated through their informants who he said were scattered across the state, providing security information to criminals in the bush through the use of cell phones and other communication gadgets.
He said many military operations have been sabotaged due to the activities of informants, thus affecting the assault by the Nigerian Air Force and other sister agencies against the bandits.
The governor urged the federal government to shut down telecommunications sites in at least 13 Katsina local government areas plagued by banditry.
“We are not advocating total closure in Katsina state but we have around 13 local government areas on the border which should be closed and this will give us the opportunity to operate without informants,” he said. .
“Katsina will have a law prohibiting the roaming of livestock”
The 17 governors of the South had set a deadline September 1, 2021, for member states to sign the anti-open grazing bill. A number of them have since backed the decision banning free grazing with the instrument of law.
Asked about his thoughts on open pastures and the recent move by his southern colleagues, the Katsina state governor said the state will have a law banning the “roaming” of livestock.
He said, however, that arrangements would be made to find out where the animals would be kept before the law comes into force.
“The shepherds must stay in one place. Homelessness should not be encouraged. In fact, for us, it is anti-Islamic. Why do you have animals that you can’t feed and you have to go to other people’s land and farm and you say that’s fine? I don’t think that’s fair.
“We intend to have a law prohibiting roaming (of cattle), but before that we would make arrangements as to where the animals would stay,” Masari said.