Katsina State Governor, Dikko Umaru Radda, has voiced his concerns about the alarming ease with which bandits acquire dangerous weapons like AK-47s and RPGs in local markets.
Governor Radda argued that individuals should have the right to arm themselves for self-protection, given the security challenges plaguing the state.
He emphasized that governors, despite their titles as chief security officers, lack the authority to direct military, police, and other security forces to address security issues within their states. He called for a more substantial role from the federal government in safeguarding the lives and property of citizens.
To combat banditry, his administration has established a ‘community watch corps’ legally, which collaborates with the military. Governor Radda made it clear that these bandits, whom he considers hardened criminals, must be eradicated from Katsina. He pledged to spare no effort in achieving this goal.
Moreover, he disclosed that some traditional rulers in the state are under investigation for their alleged connections with bandits, stressing that anyone found to be supporting or associating with these criminal elements would face consequences, regardless of their social standing.
The governor underscored the importance of protecting the lives of over 10 million people, insisting that no individual is more significant than the collective well-being of the population. He mentioned the creation of an intelligence unit within the Katsina Community Watch Corps to gather information and control the organization’s activities.
Regarding self-defense, he argued that the government should allow law-abiding citizens to possess arms and confront the challenges they face. Governor Radda acknowledged the need for reforms at the federal level to enable this.
While he dismissed the idea of negotiations with bandits, he expressed a willingness to consider reintegration into society if the bandits voluntarily surrender their arms and show a desire to return to the fold. However, he firmly stated that he would not beg bandits for negotiations, emphasizing the importance of dealing decisively with the situation.