Some ‘repentant‘ bandits in Katsina State are paid at least N100,000 monthly by the state government led by Aminu Bello Masari, SaharaReporters has reported in an exclusive report.
Four years ago to 2019, the Katsina State Government had entered a peace agreement with the gunmen.
Despite being the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, communities in Katsina are being attacked and residents kidnapped and/or killed.
A source in the state government told SaharaReporters that some of the ‘repentant’ bandits who dropped their arms and ammunition were employed by the government through the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security and paid at least N100,000 monthly.
“They were employed as casual staff after they repented and being paid monthly with an allowance of like N100,000 but unfortunately one of them was arrested recently for collaborating with some other people to commit crime,” a source told SaharaReporters.
Recently, the Katsina State Police Command had arrested three ‘repentant’ bandits for robbery and cattle rustling in the Ingawa Local Government Area of the state.
The command’s spokesman, Gambo Isah said that the trio allegedly attacked a herdsman, Alhaji Gide Suleiman, on August 11, 2021, at Dammarke forest, in Ingawa. He said the men rustled 20 cows valued at N7.5 million from him. The suspects were also alleged to have stolen N40,000 and four mobile phones from the victim.
According to him, the suspects were among the ‘repentant’ bandits now working with the state government.
Nemesis, however, caught up with them on August 24, 2021, when they allegedly attacked the victim again. They wanted to rustle another set of cows from him when the police arrested them. Isah said two cows and N444,000 were recovered as exhibits from them.
Earlier January, SaharaReporters exposed how about 15 brand new Hilux vehicles were given to leaders of different ‘repentant’ banditry groups by the governor of neighboring Zamfara state, Bello Muhammad Matawalle.
The governor also approved millions of naira to be given to the ‘repentant’ bandits as compensation.
“Those bandits have different groups, so if they say they repent, the governor will give them a Hilux vehicle; unfortunately they are now using the vehicles to carry out attacks,” a military source had told SaharaReporters.
“It’s so sad, he called it a peace and reconciliation programme, but all you need to be rich now in Zamfara is to take up arms against the people.” Nura Ibrahim Zarumi, the State Commissioner for Justice, claimed the publication embarrassed the government but refused to deny the authenticity of the story.
A former Chairman of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abubakar Maradun, added that a recent attack on a community in the state was facilitated by three new Hilux vans the bandits got from the government.
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Maradun revealed that the bandits, who besieged the community in their hundreds, met stiff resistance from the villagers, forcing them to retreat and abandon one of the vehicles containing three rifles and assorted ammunition.