Forests And Insecurity In Katsina State: Way Forward

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Ado Umar Lalu, Ahmad A. Bawa and Shamsu Muhammed Funtua
The core north was ones the most peaceful geopolitical zone in Nigeria with low crime rates and general insecurity that gives people living in the area a sense of security everywhere they go. The advent of cattle rustling and rural banditry in the last decade gradually makes the area the most dangerous place to live due to the high rates of violent crimes particularly kidnapping, cattle rustling and rural banditry that affects Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States in the northwest Nigeria which is causing lost of lives and property on daily basis.
Katsina State is one of the most peaceful State in the northwest Nigeria, but in recent years the activities of cattle rustlers and rural bandits makes Katsina the most dangerous and high risks state to live particularly Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume, Kankara, Danmusa, Safana, Kurfi, Batsari and Jibia local government areas where people live in perpetual fear of bandits attacks which goes beyond banditry to terrorism. Several villages were wiped out and several innocent lives killed in single attack which ranges from 10, 20 and sometimes over 70 in one attack.
Crimes and general insecurity like any other social problem need to be tackled holistically with utmost sincerity at the infancy stage or micro level before their escalation and graduation to unimaginable levels beyond control to make people and their valuable properties vulnerable to criminal threats.
The good people of Faskari the local government area that suffers the most horrible attacks since 2011 to date, called for Faskari People Summit in 2014 in order to find out the lasting solutions to the incessant attacks of bandits, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other security challenges in the area.
This maiden summit was attended by dignitaries and stakeholders of Faskari including former Deputy-Governor of Katsina State Abdullahi Garba Faskari (Esq). In the course of the Nasiru Kogo (Esq) suggests that the thick forests used as hideouts by criminals should be cleared in order to secure the lives and property of the people against all forms of security threats. He further suggests that the forests should be converted to school, farms or any other use that will bring socioeconomic development to the area and Katsina in general.
This simple advice of Barrister Nasir Kogo was ignored which could have saved hundreds of lives and property worth hundreds of millions or billions could be saved.
In recent times we are witnessing increased in crime and insecurity as a results of attacks on our villages that are more of well planned and coordinated terrorism and kidnapping that became lucrative business through which criminals were getting ransoms from their victims in millions, while the unlucky ones lost their lives.
With the way and manner things are going, we have no any other options than to call on Federal and State Governments to embark on massive deforestation of the areas used by criminals as their hideouts. The worth of the forests is not worth the lives of people killed almost on daily basis.
The sophistication of these attacks from the testimonies of people in the affected areas of Faskari Local Government specifically Kadisau attacks are beyond the activities of cattle rustlers known in the area. Government should do the needful and listen to the cries of the victims and concerned citizens in far and near places before the situation completely goes out of control to anarchy. The most important duty and functions of government is to take precautionary security measures that will guarantee the safety and security of lives and property of the citizens. People can overlook shortcomings of government in other aspects of lives, but cannot endure incessant attacks that are producing orphans and widows on daily basis.
Ado Umar Lalu, Ahmad A. Bawa and Shamsu Muhammed Funtua

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