There is no gain saying that the amnesty program initiated and religiously implemented by Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s Administration has yielded immeasurable result in Katsina State, especially in the cattle rustling frontline Local Government Areas of Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume, Kankara, Danmusa, Safana, Batsari and Jibia. Prior to the inception of the Masari Administration, the future of the people in those areas (in particular) was bleak, because killing of innocent lives, kidnapping, raping of young women and minors, cattle rustling, armed robbery and merciless destruction of property had become the order of the day.
Lest we forget, a reflection of the ‘’Day without Cockcrow’’ is instructive meaning the day when no man born of woman dare raised his head which happened in Maigora of Faskari Local Government. It is on record that day, when 142 able-bodied men, women and children were massacred while the so called C-in-C of this country and the then Chief Security Officer of the State was busy having fun in the state capital. Or, would the people of Yartsamiya, Kankara Local Government ever forget that fateful day on which 17 people were slaughtered and their bodies dumped in the Village Head’s house. Alas these poor people and many communities in the aforementioned Local Government Areas, such as Tsaskiya, Yarsanta, Marina, Wurma, Kankara, Sabon Layin Galadima, Unguwar Doka, Dungun-Muazu to mention but a few, have all nakedly seen gruesome murders, experienced terror attacks and suffered persecution of the highest degree. Yet they were left helplessly wailing for almost 2 years to the deaf ears of the then powers that be.
‘’Allahu Sami’ud dua’’ (meaning God the Almighty) answered the prayers fervently done by the generality of the people and brought that tyrannically leadership to a halt. The Almighty also lighted the hearts of the present leaders by giving them the wisdom to adopt dialogue/amnesty as a means of stopping the incessant bloodshed in the State.
Today, as a result of this priceless effort by the Masari Administration, God Almighty has returned normalcy in those volatile areas. What we now see, are peaceful co-existence between sworn enemies (farmers and the herders), free-movements of persons and goods, farming activities and animal rearing, while all the village markets which were hitherto deserted are now booming with economic transactions as usual, particularly on market days.
More importantly, the repentant herders have renounced terrorism of all sorts; have surrendered their firearms; and have already re-integrated with their neighbours.
What seems to have still remained hazy to some dejected, crestfallen and despondent politicians is the price of these huge successes. Is it a magic? No: Tell them no; it isn’t.
The answer is that they have failed woefly in this regard due to their negligence of duty and insincerity of purpose. They spent most of their time negotiating with Abuja what they hoped to receive from oil money. They had no time for security. This in turn meant they had no time for their people, the source of their power. Therefore, a mere mention of Governor Masari’s Amnesty programme or the name of the driver of this noble crusade who tossed his life for the project to succeed gives someone out there cause for melancholy.
However, come what may, the fact remains that the name of this gallant gentleman (and his Team) will continuously be written in gold by the unlimited number of souls he saved under the Amnesty project.
Now for a commentary on what one vociferous person wrote on this flat-form, that ‘’The amnesty was signed with conditions, but later the Secretary to the government of the State announced the sum of N1.6bn has been spent on this operation, it was after this announcement we swift into action and we found out that the number of the security agents used in this operation could not swallow the sum of N1.6bn as said by Musatapha Inuwa …” (sic).
Firstly, this character is known for his obtrusiveness, being more or less an attention seeker who runs a one man’s party. He is his party’s Chairman, the gubernatorial candidate, the EXCO as well as the party’s faithful. I dare him to conduct even a ward congress of the party where full pledged EXCO with 3 months register will attend.
Secondly, where he claims quoting the Secretary to the Government of the State as saying ‘’N1.6bn’’ was spent on the Amnesty operation, we wonder where he got the figure and what is his source. However, let me quickly, educate him that in writing, whatever you put in between inverted commas means they are the exact wordings of the person you are quoting. I therefore advise him to hastly retract it.
May we at this point emphasize to him, and all those he might have been running errands for, that no amount of obtrusiveness will obstruct or distract this Administration from fulfilling its campaign promises including the logical conclusion of legal actions instituted against those who looted public funds.
Now for the purpose of clarification, here is the rundown of the funds released to the State Dialogue/Amnesty Committee since its inauguration on the 10th November, 2016 to date and how it was utilized. The documents are there readily available for anybody wishing to vouch.
It is worthy to note that the State Dialogue/Amnesty Committee which initially had 26 members under the Chairmanship of the Secretary to the Government of the State, was inaugurated on the 10th November, 2016. One of the terms of reference given of the Committee was to open up for wide consultations and negotiations with the two warring factions especially the herders and workout modalities for the surrender of their firearms. Therefore, as the meetings of the Committee continued the membership expanded as more herders embraced the peace process.
Membership of the Committee includes; the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Commissioner of Information, Culture and Home Affairs, Commissioner of Police, Commanding Officer, 35 Battalion, Katsina, the Director State Security Service, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Representatives of the Emirs of Katsina and Daura, Chairman, Farmers/Herders Peace Committee, Chairman Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and representatives of various gangs of herders from different forests across the State.
Since its inauguration to date, the Committee has received N5,000,000.00 on the 9th December, 2016 and another N5,000,000.00 on the 17th January, 2017 as its working imprest.
Out of this, N7,340,000.00 had so far been spent leaving a balance of N2,660,000. Some of the activities carried out by the Committee include series of meetings with the highest attendance of 108 persons and the least, 26. All these Committee members except Civil Servants of the State were paid sitting allowances. There is also a Sub-Committee on mobilization visiting the flash areas to enlighten the people and garner support for the Amnesty programme.
The Committee had also successfully organized a grand occasion on the 15th January, 2017 at Kankara, during which the repentant herders formally surrendered their weapons to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who then declared amnesty to all repentant cattle rustlers.
Secondly, a total sum of N30,000,000 was released to the Committee to pay compensation for the guns surrendered to the Government by either the herdsmen or members of the vigilante groups. After due screening, confirmation and recommendation of the Commanding Officer of the 35 battalion, Katsina, N250,000.00 was paid for each AK 47 or pump Action Gun etc whereas N50,000.00 was paid for lesser firearms. Thus, the sum of N20,330,000.00 has been paid, leaving a balance of N9,670,000.00.
This singular gigantic effort of the Masari Administration has attracted the attention of the Presidential Committee on Small Weapons (PRESCOM) which visited Katsina and took stock of the weapons surrendered, in conjunction with representatives of other international Agencies monitoring proliferation of small firearms.
Some benefits to be driven from this visit include getting compensation to the State from the manufacturing countries of the weapons recovered, and a resettlement scheme to be organized for the repentant cattle rustlers
Finally, we are appealing to my younger brothers as well as all and sundry to always verify their claims or whatever negative assertions are said about any person by anybody as ordained by the teachings of our religion.
We therefore urge discerning minds to disregard in toto the junk against the Secretary to the Government of the State. It is malicious much as it is baseless from a low – spirited politician whose or whose sponsors’ sole aim was to deliberately smear the image of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the State and the KTSG, and to also down play the success story of the Dialogue/Amnesty programme.
Lastly, we want to ask the good people of Katsina State and all rational minds. Please can the money spent in the payment of compensation for AK 47 or dane gun be quantified with the number of lives that could have been killed with the same weapon if Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s Government did not introduce the Amnesty programme?
Or did this fellow or his sponsors care to find out how much was spent on the thousands of Security men drawn from their different statutory duty posts just to barricade people in Katsina City from being face-to-face with President Ebele Jonathan, on that fateful day when over one hundred people were brutally murdered in cold blood?
Abdullahi Aliyu Yar’adua
Chief Press Secretary to the
Secretary to the Government of the State.