The Katsina State government has exchanged nine bandits in the custody of security agencies for the release of five abducted persons. According to a statement by Abdu Malumfashi, the Director General, Media to Governor Aminu Masari, the government did this “to secure the release of more detainees.”
The state, like many others across Nigeria, has been rocked by a spate of violent crimes that has led to the killings and abductions of many Nigerians in recent months. Katsina recently ‘reached out’ in controversial peace overtures to the bandits, who have carried out majority of the violence.
According to the statement, the exchanges took place in the Katsina State Government House “before the Governor, all the security chiefs serving in the state and two representatives of the bandits, who sealed pledges earlier made by both sides during a six-day peace engagement”.
Speaking during the exchanges, Governor Masari reportedly disclosed that another 29 kidnapped victims would be released by the bandits later in the day.
He said the process would continue for the next couple of days “during which all captives in the hands of the bandits would be released, while bandits in the hands of security agencies would also be set free”.
Mr Masari reportedly warned the bandits that while the government would walk its talk to its letter and spirit, it will however, not tolerate violation of the agreement as it would wield the big stick with all the required ruthlessness to enforce its will and have way.