State governors in the Northwest geopolitical zone of the country are considering going into dialogue and possibly granting amnesty to armed bandits that have been terrorising citizens for some time now in the area.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who stated this while briefing newsmen Thursday evening after a security meeting held at the Government House, said the measures were aimed at addressing the security challenge and bring lasting peace to the region.
The states, including Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Kaduna, have witnessed cases of bandits’ attack, kidnapping and cattle rustling, with hundreds of lives reported to have been lost in the process.
Most of the communities affected by the security challenge are those situated close to an expanse of forest that extends into most of the states in the region. According to reports, bandits use the forest as hideouts from where they launch their attacks on hapless citizens.
Masari, who acknowledged that the security challenge was cause of worry for many in the region, however, said a collective, united and common approach to the issue of dialogue and amnesty was needed to effectively tackle the issue.
Speaking further, the governor said: “Part of what we discussed in the meeting is the effect of what is going on in Zamfara State, because right now, Zamfara is in the process of making what they call dialogue, which we did some years ago. We started it in Katsina, but we realised that for it to be successful, it has to be done in Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kaduna states.”
“So, without collective approach to the issue of amnesty in the northwest, I don’t think it would work, because we are in a better position to say it, as we have previous experience. We are working with other state governors to make sure we have a united and common approach to the issue of dialogue and amnesty, so that peace will reign in the forest area in our states,” he said.