Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina, says many “bandits” are Fulani indigenes whose main occupation is rearing cattle.
In recent times, many states in the northern part of the country have witnessed a series of attacks by suspected bandits, leading to abductions, murder and cattle rustling — a development that has stirred public outcry.
Speaking on the development in an interview on Channels Television on Monday, Masari said although his revelation may not sit well with some persons, majority of the “bandits” are of the Fulani ethnic extraction.
The governor added that the impact of climate change and lack of access to education negatively affected the fortunes of the “bandits”, whom he he said are mostly cattle rearers.
“They are the same people like me, who speak the same language like me, who profess the same religious beliefs like me. So, what we have here on ground with these bandits, they are not aliens; they are people who we know,” he said.
“They are people who are living with us for hundreds of years. The infiltration we have from some West African countries and North African countries are also people of the Fulani extraction.
“Majority of those involved in this banditry are Fulani, whether it is palatable or not, but that is the truth. I’m not saying 100 percent of them are Fulani, but the majority of them are. These are people who live in the forests where their main occupation is rearing of cattle.
“Probably, over time, their fortunes dwindled with climate change; lack of access to education also aggravated the situation.
“The fall of Gaddafi, instability in many West and North African countries, the influx of arms and ammunition, accompanied with illegal drugs and intoxicants that polluted the environment, that made them what they are and I think it is our responsibility to cure this.
“We in Katsina, together with other governors in the north-western region, are determined to cure this.”