Gov. Dikko Radda of Katsina State says the Northern Governor’s Forum will not allow insecurity to define the region.

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The Governor spoke at the start of a two-day North-West Peace and Security Summit in Katsina on Monday, with the subject ‘Regional Cooperation for Securing Lives and Livelihoods in NorthWest Nigeria’.

He said, “Banditry has thrown a shadow over our community. It has disturbed lives, hampered economic activity, and created terror among our people.

“We cannot allow this menace to define our region. As leaders, we must adopt a multifaceted approach that includes robust intelligence gathering, community policing, and deploying advanced security technologies.

“Furthermore, we must enhance the capacity of our national security forces through continuous improvements and adequate resources.

“To effectively combat banditry, we need to strengthen our intelligence networks.”

According to Radda, this entails upgrading the region’s monitoring systems, investing in contemporary technology such as drones and satellite imaging, and boosting cooperation among different security organizations.

He emphasized that leaders must also build more effective communication channels to guarantee fast reactions to threats.

“However, addressing banditry is not solely the responsibility of our security agencies. ‘We must engage with local communities, traditional rulers, and religious leaders to foster a culture of cooperation and trust,”Radda added.

He also stated that community involvement was critical in acquiring actionable intelligence and establishing resilience against criminal activity.

“Most states in the region have already established community security initiatives where local outfits work hand in hand with formal security forces to protect their communities.

“In Katsina, we launched the Community Watch Corps, Zamfara and Sokoto states have equally launched successful programmes, while Kaduna already had an existing programme in place.

“Most states in the region have now established full-fledged ministries for internal security and have made security a focal part of their administrative duties at the state level.

“In addition, we must address the root causes of banditry, which often stem from economic deprivation and lack of opportunities,” Radda said.

He revealed that vocational training, job opportunities, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises could  help divert vulnerable individuals from criminal activities.

The governor said, “Our region has the potential to be the nation’s breadbasket, yet we face significant challenges in achieving food security.”

According to Radda, the path to peace, security, and prosperity for the Northwest lies in their hands, therefore they must act with urgency, determination, and unity of purpose.

“Let us build a region where every citizen can live in peace, agriculture thrives, socio-economic justice prevails, and poverty is a thing of the past,” Radda appealed.