Youths from the home state of President Mohammadu Buhari, Katsina State has called for the resignation of Governor Aminu Masari as they protest the incessant attacks and killings of residents by bandits on Tuesday.
The youth, under the aegis of Collation of Northern Groups, lamented the frequent attacks by bandits. The protest was organised by the National Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
While expressing their grievances, the protesters marched through Nagogo Road, Kofar Durbi, and GRA roundabout.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards were: “Buhari/Masari resign if you cannot protect us”; “End Banditry in Katsina”; “Enough is Enough”; “Katsina is a home of hospitality”, “We need peace”.
Chanting anti-government songs, the youth called for immediate action to end the killings in the state.
Some of them accused the government of giving too many excuses, calling for the immediate resignation of Masari.
The youths had planned to converge on the Katsina Emir’s Palace, but their plan was scuttled by security agents, who blocked all roads leading to the palace.
However, they passed through Kofar-Durbi to GRA carrying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of them read: “stop the bloodshed”, “do the needful before they finish us” and “banditry and kidnapping are our monsters” among others.
The security agents also blocked all roads leading to the Government House to prevent the youth from getting there.
The state Chairman of NYCN, Katsina State, Lukman Umar-Kankia, said that the state, which was known for peace, is now facing mounting security challenges, including banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others.
“Bandits operate with brazen impunity, their audacity is appalling. In broad daylight, they sack villages and annihilate the people.
“They rustle animals, raze markets and reduce houses to rubble; they defoliate farms and pillage resources.
“They rape women and abduct men and demand a ransom their relations couldn’t afford,” he said.
He therefore urged the Federal and state governments to intensify efforts in protecting peoples lives and property.
“The government should employ more police for the affected areas, proffer stiffer punishment for anyone found aiding bandits and kidnappers,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, addressed the protestors.
The police commissioner assured them that the government and security agents were doing their best to overcome the security challenges in the state.
“We are aware that we have challenges, these challenges were built up over 30 years, yet some Nigerians want these problems that have been accumulated over 30 years to be solved within a period of months.
“We are determined more than ever before to ensure that these problems are solved, and that is why we have joint security operations to bring the situation under control,” he said.
Buba admonished the youths not to be misguided, and thanked them for conducting themselves in a matured manner. “Thank God it is a peaceful protest, there was no any violence and when I talked to them, they listened.”
But the Presidency quoted the President as saying that the youths were lucky Nigeria is in a democratic government.
The protest comes a week after a billboard bearing the picture of President Muhammadu Buhari and Aminu Masari, Governor of the state, were burnt by another set of protesters in Yantumaki town, Danmusa local government area of the state.
Shortly after that protest, over 40 residents were killed by bandits.
On Tuesday, the youth commenced the fresh protest around the Muhammed Dikko Central Mosque and ended inside government house, Katsina.
During the weekend, Governor Masari had said he had failed in his duty to protect residents.
“I don’t know what to tell them. I cannot look at them in the face because we have failed to protect them, contrary to our pledge to ensure the security of lives and property throughout the state,” he had said.
The state government had earlier entered a peace agreement with the gunmen. But despite the accord, communities in Katsina are still being attacked and residents killed.
The incessant attacks made Masari’s administration to pull out of the peace deal with the bandits. At that peace meeting, the bandits were shown carrying weapons and posing for photograph with Mr. Governor.