The Inspector General of Police and 10 state governors yesterday met repentant cattle rustlers and bandits, volunteers (also known as Yan Sakai) and Miyetti Allah leaders in an effort to end banditry, especially in the North West.
Governors of Plateau, Taraba, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina states attended the one day security and reconciliation meeting which lasted over five hours. The focus is how to end killings and banditry in the zone.
The DIG Kano zone, seven police commissioners and top military officers were also in attendance.
It was resolved that the Yan Sakai should stop their illegal activities because they have no legal backing, while the police will arrest anyone who goes about killing and molesting people.
Reading the meeting’s communiqué, Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari said “As from today, no vigilante group member or volunteers should attack or kill any herdsman, as sacrifice must be made by both sides to ensure peace reign.
“Herdsmen and their families should be allowed to go for their normal businesses, attend markets and worship places without molestation provided they don’t carry arms into public places.
“It is very important they come peacefully and leave peacefully,” he said.
“Both former bandits and Yan Sakai [are] to surrender all arms and ammunition in their possession to authorities and also to release people under their captivity.
“In order to further peace and harmony within communities, those who stole animals from communities and people living around should return them to government or Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
“This is necessary because in order to foster peace and understanding sacrifices must be made by both sides, we believe that there are some people that have been taken hostage by both bandits and Yan Sakai, this people should be returned.
“We are happy to say that we have seen some releases in Zamfara of people, even from Katsina State, the governor spoke to me and we sent for them to be picked, others have gone to their various places,” he said. The meeting also resolved that the secretaries to state governments from North West and others who attended the meeting will remain and discuss with the former bandits on ways to sustain and maintain peace in the region and other affected places.
Shedding light on the new measures, the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu said “Nobody is allowed to attack any one as resolutions reached today shall, within the next one month, be appraised to see levels of compliance.”
He vowed that anyone who deviated or tried to test the might of the authorities over what was reached shall be brought to book.
Adamu had earlier at the opening session of the meeting said it was called to review security challenges in the zone with a view to finding a lasting solution.
He said the meeting shall review recent initiatives taken by Kebbi and Zamfara states to stop the killings and kidnapping in their states, even as he noted that “these initiatives were first introduced by Katsina state”
He said “We felt that to continue the follow up, we need to go to where it all started and to review all that we have done that led to success in Zamfara and to see those things that work and those that didn’t so that the whole of North West can be peaceful.”
“We know we are farmers, we should be able to go back to our farms, we know we are cattle breeders, we should be able have opportunity to breed cattle without molestation,” he added. It was also resolved that states would provide hospitals, schools, grazing reserves among others to herders and their families.
Zamfara State Governor Bello Mutawalle said the states would provide grazing reserves for herders to settle in one place in the zone to avoid the banditry.
“We are concerned that herders are always roaming around with their animals thereby exposing themselves to different kinds of hazards. Some people with banditry tendencies have crept in.
“The governors took a uniform measure, you should also take a uniform decision not to rustle animals, kidnap or kill anyone.
“You should immediately release all people in your custody in order to show the world that you have truly repented,” he said.
Mutawalle had before the meeting said that “The peace and reconciliation initiative I introduced in Zamfara has yielded good results which earned us commendation from the president because in the last one month, the state only recorded one attack where sadly one person was killed.”
“In Zamfara too, the peace initiative which is being headed by the Commissioner of Police, Usman Nagogo agreed on a ceasefire with the bandits and they have been releasing the innocent persons in their captivity,” he said.