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Katsina Community Corps: It is better than nothing

The speech of the Governor of Katsina State, Dr Dikko Radda, to the Media Trust team led by the Chairman of the company, Malam Kabiru…

The speech of the Governor of Katsina State, Dr Dikko Radda, to the Media Trust team led by the Chairman of the company, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, that visited him in Katsina, further raised the hope of residents of the state on security.

The speech which was published in Daily Trust of March 21, 2024, raised important issues. For example, the governor said:

“We can’t fold our arms while some people are killing, maiming and raping our people, because we are not in control of the security architecture. So we decided that we must have some approaches… My first approach in dealing with this problem is that I decided not to negotiate with any bandit because that will give them a sense of feeling that we have to abide by their own terms and conditions”.

The above statement clearly shows his good understanding of power.

In one of the theories of power predicated on EGALITARIAN BALANCE OF TERROR, scholars believe that deterrence will only work when an adversary is convinced that you have the capacity to inflict maximum damage on him when he attacks you. Malcolm X is right when he said that the only thing POWER respects is POWER. In other words, negotiation for peace should be from the point of strength not weakness.

The governor once said that he was not opposed to negotiation but it should be on the request of the bandits, therefore, not on their terms. He is right because, to me, this is why the negotiation with them by the previous administration in the state failed.

When the former governor went to the forest looking for them for a meeting he sent wrong signals of his helplessness which emboldened the bandits. Imagine before granting amnesty to the militants of the Niger Delta that President Yar’Adua went to the creeks looking for Tompolo and his boys to meet and negotiate terms of peace.

My understanding is that the Katsina State Community Watch Corps (KSCWC)  created by the governor is not taking over the responsibilities of the conventional security outfits but to complement them because they are to work together. Also, in situations where it may take time for the outfit to seek clearance on his legitimate instructions, the governor will not be helpless because there is a security outfit funded and controlled by him. To me, the intervention of the KSCWC, no matter how negligible, is better than helplessness.

The initial operations of the KSCWC will experience some hitches like any other thing new. Therefore, suggestions are required on how to make it better. For example, there should be less publicity in its activities. When Malam Umaru Yar’Adua was governor he did an excellent job on security, without publicity, as usual.

In each local government with threats of Fulani herdsmen, he created a combined team of security men and mandated them to work with local government officials and traditional rulers quietly. For example, in my local government, Dustin–Ma, the team was under Captain Umar popularly known as Danhadeja. And he did a good job. It was an irony of history that a Bahadeje restored sanity in kasar Katsina.

I planted maize on a farm in Karo, behind the permanent site of Federal University Dutsin-Ma, and when I noticed the consistent absence of one of the Fulani people taking care of the farm, I asked about him but they all kept quiet. Later, one of them met me and said that he ran away because Danhadeja was looking for him. On enquiry, I learned that he was a hardened criminal. Happily, he never returned.

Many others like him were neutralised or ran away. It is sad that this Fulani problem started rearing its head many years ago but typical of our country no comprehensive approach was made to nip it in the bud.

Security operations require confidentiality, but few people have the capacity to manage information. I was shocked when I saw a video clip where one of the Chairmen was saying that the governor sent 30 KSCWC operatives to one of his villages. This was valuable information for the bandits who, rather than be scared, may prepare adequately to inflict maximum damage on the village.

The governor and his officials should talk less and act more. They need to remember the song of Saje Manjo Adamun Pankshin where Shata described a boastful soldier as “watakilama mai rabon tuwo ne shi”.

Of course, there may continue to be casualties on the side of the KSCWC operatives. The challenge is to reduce it to the barest minimum by continuing to improve the operations, funding and public campaign on the need for people to trust and co-operate with the operatives. Also, the welfare of the operatives and that of their families should be adequately addressed.

With Dr Nasiru Muazu as commissioner in-charge of security, who I have known as an intelligent and reliable person, being my former student, I believe there is hope. Also, with experienced intellectuals in the cabinet like Professor Badamasi Charanci, the government will not be short of ideas and strategies.


Dikko lives in Abuja

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