Kidnapping, especially by bandits, has become a booming business in the country, Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, has said.
Masari noted that bandits who, hitherto, engaged in cattle rustling graduated to kidnapping on realizing that they could make thousands or millions of naira as ransoms.
The governor spoke at the weekend just as the Bauchi State wing of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) lend their voice to the call last week by Governor Bala Mohammed for herdsmen and other Nigerians to be allowed to carry firearms.
Masari, at a two-day security awareness seminar for Jumma’at Mosque Imams and other Islamic religious leaders in the state, condemned the rising insecurity in the country, especially the Northwest.
He told the participants of the seminar titled ’’Combating insecurity through da’awa,’ that kidnapping and killing of innocent people needed to be tackled through the community-driven arrangement.
Masari also charged the clerics to spearhead communal participation in security arrangements within their localities rather than wait for security operatives whose number is inadequate to protect a state with over seven million people.
His words: ’’Nigeria being the richest among countries in the Sahel region has suddenly drawn the attention of those engaged in kidnapping business and selling of guns and so on, because here, they can kidnap somebody and get N10,000, N50,000, N100,000 and millions more.
“There is no doubt that this country is facing divergent security challenges, although the problem of Boko Haram has reduced banditry and kidnapping is still with us.
“The bandits started with the rustling of cows later killings, kidnapping, raping of women and girls, burning of villages and foodstuffs belonging to residents of the state.
“We must go back to our tested traditional and religious method of enforcing security. The situation degenerated because of the failure of the religious leaders to play their assigned roles of enforcing discipline and good conduct amongst members.’’
Allow Nigerians to bear arms, Bauchi herders advocate
Also at the weekend, the Bauchi State wing of MACBAN called on the Federal Government to allow every Nigerian to bear firearms to protect themselves.
The association Chairman in the state, Sadiq Ahmed, told The Nation in Bauchi that since the Federal Government could no longer protect its citizens, it was better for everyone to protect themselves from bandits.
Ahmed said:” The government has become irresponsible, that a Fulani man has now become an outcast in his own country. All his wealth has been crippled by the activities of cattle rustlers. What do you expect him to do? Let everybody protect themselves, let everybody carry arms. You don’t allow a few bandits to come and ruin you, kill you and your family. A few people cannot be terrorizing everybody.”
“Although in a normal situation, nobody should be allowed to carry arms except those that are licensed to do so if the Federal Government had taken the responsibility of protecting lives of citizens serious, no one would dare have reason to carry arms”
‘You need to ask yourself, is the government doing enough to protect the lives of herdsmen, I won’t fault governor Bala Mohammed for the statement. He is very right, after all, he did not say herdsmen should go and cause chaos. No one faulted Benue Governor Samuel Ortom when he said herdsmen should leave his state.”