The Secretary to the Government of Katsina State, Mustapha Inuwa, has cleared air on his relationship with the bandits, denies aiding their activities in the state.
Inuwa who said he had met with bandits and communicated with them, stated that he was also a victim of their merciless attacks.
Masari’s Secretary was alleged of supporting banditry in the state, an allegation that provoked some youths to burn down his private residence in Danmusa Local Government Area in 2019.
Responding to a question from a reporter on Wednesday, while briefing journalists on his decision to jostle gubernatorial seat in the forthcoming election, Inuwa said he is not a friend of the bandits but has been a victim of their attacks.
He said in the early days of Masari’s administration, he put his life at risk twice by presenting himself to the bandits to hold as “collateral” to persuade them to accept dialogue with the state government.
“I used a motorcycle to go and meet their leaders. I told them that I will stay with them in their camp, so that their leader could go and discuss with His Excellency.
“I told them that if their leader return, they should allow me to go, and if he didn’t return, whatever was done to him they should do to me. I did that because I wanted and still want peace. I knew the risk involved but I trust the governor and I knew how sincere we are in the fight against insecurity.
“Even the bandits were surprised that I could submit myself to them. I did that because I wanted to assure them that we were not trying to harm their leaders who were being summoned to Katsina for the peace meeting,’’ Inuwa said.
Fielding question how he fell victim of banditry, the SGS said his close relatives, including his eldest brother, niece; and a friend were abducted by the bandits in Danmusa and they had to raise money for their release.
“Those who are saying that, we know them. We know from where the rumours are coming. But that doesn’t deter me because as someone from Danmusa local government area, what would be my benefit to be aiding banditry? What would I get?”
He explained that he had a cause to dialogue with most of the bandits especially after they had accepted the peace accord.
“When they repented, you know that most of them repented, we had their phone numbers and we were communicating with them. Not only me, the police commissioner, the Director of DSS and all Security heads in the state. There were representations from both Emirs of Katsina and Daura and others. We used to meet with them every two weeks to discuss issues and how to extend the peace accord to those who had not repented.
“So, when the peace accord collapsed and some of them went back to banditry while others were killed by their rivals, some people decided to use that to spread a rumour that I have a link with bandits and I am supporting them. But even the Director DSS, the Brigade Commander have their (bandits) numbers too, the governor speaks with them too….. We know those spreading the rumour. I don’t care because I know I have no hands in banditry,” he said.