President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday that he was aware of the hardship faced by Internally Displaced Persons in the country and was taking measures to address it.
He spoke in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State during a visit to 1,050 IDPs selected from the affected eight frontline local government areas of the state, bordering Ruga Forest.
The IDPs, who were sacked by bandits, were camped at the Basari Council Secretariat.
He said, “I am very sad that the consequences of these bandits’ actions have brought hardship and affected the socio-economic life of our people in the localities. Agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy and source of livelihood, is worse affected.
“I would like to assure you that the Federal Government is fully aware of your situation as I receive daily reports from security agencies and Governor Aminu Masari, who personally visited and briefed me on the killings and wanton destruction by the bandits not only in Katsina but in other states as well.
“Let me assure all and sundry that the protection of lives and property of the citizenry is the prime essence of government. We shall be focused and determined to protect our citizens,” State House statement by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted him as saying.
He told the IDPs that measures taken so far included the deployment of military personnel and technology to contain the bandits.
One of our correspondents, who witnessed the visit, reported that Buhari told the IDPs that those who were engaging in kidnapping and maiming and were calling on God were not true Islamic faithful.
He declared, “It is either they don’t know God or they disagree with Him. What brought me here is to condole with you over the recent bandits’ attacks affecting not only you but all of us. I have nothing to add to what the Emir had already spoken extensively about, but all what leaders should do right from home is to ensure justice.
“I assure you that we sleep and wake up with the sad moment of banditry and kidnapping activities in the state and country. By the grace of God, we will use soldiers, police and other security agencies to end banditry.
“All those whose activity is to kill people and saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ are lying because God is not wicked. You can’t carry bomb or gun, sword or knife to go and kill innocent somebody and say ‘Allahu Akbar.’ This implies that you either don’t believe in God or you don’t know what you are saying.More in Home
However, he sought the support of the local communities and leaders for the security agencies to succeed fully.
“There is a popular Hausa adage which says ‘it’s the rat in the house that tells the rat outside that there is fish in the house,’ so within yourselves, your neighbours and even your relatives there are informants.
“So in this case, both you and I don’t know them, it’s only God that knows them. We can’t do anything here rather than intensify prayers for God to expose them.”
He thanked all those who had so far provided relief services to the IDPs, including his wife, Aisha, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Stanbic IBTC.
Masari had earlier said that the amnesty and offer of dialogue granted repentant bandits by the North-West governors, along with other strategies put in place, had started yielding good results.