Traditional heads in Katsina are aiding bandits- Garba Shehu

GARBA Shehu, presidential spokesperson on Monday says some traditional rulers in Katsina State are aiding bandits attacking villages across the state.

Shehu’s comment made on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme came a few days after bandits murdered Dikko Usman, village head of Mazoji, in Matazu Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Reports say Matazu was murdered on Saturday while bandits invaded Mazoji village on motorcycles, armed with weapons. 

The presidential spokesperson submitted that traditional rulers in the state help gunmen escape after attacks, shielding them from counter-attacks planned by the military.

It is not that we are making direct accusations on anyone but it is also true that even in the president’s native state of Katsina, some traditional rulers have been found complicit in collaboration with the bandits to harm their own people,” Shehu during the programme.

He further added that the traditional rulers benefit from banditry and play a role in making it consistent. 

“In neighbouring Zamfara, emirs and district heads, quite a number of them have been swept out of office. The thing is there are beneficiaries of whatever rotten system you have,” he said.

 Shehu further argued that some have also engaged in providing the intel for bandits, disclosing that such actions frustrate the efforts of the military dedicated to fighting insurgency. 

He particularly cited an instance in Zamfara State where he said a failed operation was linked to a possible leak to the bandits. 

“At some point, the Nigerian Air Force had to put a number of aircraft in Katsina, they are still there. In the early part of that operation attacking Zamfara which then was the epicentre.

“They realised that once aircraft took off from Katsina airport, before it got to Zamfara for operation, telephone calls would have been made and targets would have disappeared. In the end we were forced to be flying from distant places like Kaduna and Kano in order to undertake operations in Zamfara,” he said.

This claim against traditional rulers by the presidential spokesperson is coming days after about 57 persons were killed in a fresh attack in Katsina.

The Guardian reported that about 150 gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on residents before looting shops and stealing cattle in a series of assaults last Tuesday in six remote communities in the state.

Meanwhile, Bello Masari, Governor of Katsina State has said the recent attacks and killings in the state have saddened him.




     

     

    Masari who spoke during an interactive session with reporters over the weekend at the Government House, said “I am a very unhappy person because we have never had any moment of respite within the last five years that the leadership of this state can describe as comfortable.”

    However, Shehu’s claim against the traditional rulers has been dismissed as untrue by Bulama Bukarti, a Boko Haram expert and analyst at Tony Blair Institute.

    In a message written on Twitter on Monday, Bukarti said some traditional rulers and residents have completely lost confidence in government after years of massacre and vowed down to the bandits by meeting their demands.

    “The Buhari crowd has been peddling this false theory. The reality is, after years of massacre, some traditional rulers and residents have completely lost confidence in govt, so they vowed down to the bandits by meeting their demands. That’s not aiding,” he wrote.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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