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Addressing the security challenge: The Bakori example

I am not aware of any community that has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, on the issue of…

I am not aware of any community that has picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, on the issue of self-defence, better than the Bakori community.

The governor, who was obviously frustrated by the continued attacks by bandits across the state and elsewhere, was reported to have thrown the challenge to people to take up arms and defend themselves against the terrorists, who appear undeterred by security agents.

Whether the call is right or wrong is not the issue I intend to discuss here. But to Bakori people, it appears to have gone down well with them as desperate times call for desperate measures.

As a matter of fact, the community took up the challenge even before the governor threw it out because the town had started becoming lucrative to bandits who saw how vulnerable the people were after carrying out a couple of successful operations.

It was after the bandits had successfully attacked the town and kidnapped some of its inhabitants about the fourth or fifth time that the people woke up and decided to defend themselves.

Under the leadership of the District Head, Idris Suleiman Idris, Makaman Katsina, the elites, including those in the diaspora, came together and gave out their contributions in cash and kind. The result is that the town is on its way to becoming a fortress of sorts that could be impregnable to bandits.

They realised from the onset that the biggest threat came from informants, who gave away the town’s secrets to the bandits. So they set out and identified them, arrested them and handed them over to security agents. The rest took to their heels and left the town, some for good. Next, they pulled together resources out of which volunteers were engaged and paid stipends to keep out marauders. Equipment were purchased for them such as walkie-talkies, bullet-proof vests, torchlights, night-vision glasses, sweaters, etc, to patrol the whole town and environs throughout the night, in spite of the harsh weather. If you switch on the walkie-talkie, you hear them communicating, which is reassuring.

Working together with the security agents, they have successfully, so far, warded off attacks from the ruthless bandits. Somehow, word had reached the terrorists that Bakori was no longer the soft centre they were getting used to.

Reports of how the bandits were dealt with in neighbouring villages of Kandarawa, where many of the bandits were ambushed and neutralised, kidnap victims freed, including rustled cattle, were testimonies that the people had been pushed to the wall and are ready to face the bandits and defend themselves.

Now, there are talks of taking further steps, which I wouldn’t care to discuss here for security reasons, to further secure the town and surrounding villages.

It is in the light of the above that I consider the call by the governor as not only timely, but appropriate. If other communities complement the efforts of the security agents, I believe, together, we can tackle this pervading menace. Security agents alone cannot do it without assistance and support from the community. So, let’s be our brothers’ keepers.

I must confess I am highly impressed by the camaraderie exhibited by the indigines of Bakori town, wherever they are. I hope this show is maintained and sustained.

Ahmed Abdulkadir, Rtd. Director, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Nigeria.

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