By Albert Akota
Three international development agencies, namely, African Development Bank (ADB), the Agence Francaise De Development (AFD) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have promised to partner with Katsina on the provision of infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas in the state.
At a separate meeting with Governor Aminu Bello Masari in Abuja, each of the agencies assured the Governor that they are prepared, and, are indeed ready, to key in to the development programmes of Katsina so as to address the security and other challenges tasking the meager resources of the State.
Governor Masari, who visited the regional headquarters of JICA, AFD and ADB (in that order) Monday, has sought the support of the agencies to assist Katsina State in fast tracking development, especially in the rural ares of the state.
The Governor associated the banditry by herdsmen and other security challenges that have hitherto bedevilled the state to the systematic neglect of the herdsmen by successive governments to provide essential infrastructure to their communities, mostly located in the forest.
He said although the state government had been able to successfully persuade the herdsmen to renounce their criminal ways of life and embrace peace, the government must however, put in place the structures that would sustain the peace permanently.
He added that after the government’s dialogue with the commanders of the bandits in the eight affected local government areas, nearly two months ago, kidnapp and other forms of banditry have completely stopped in the state.
But Katsina State, according to him, does not have the resources to provide the necessary infrastructure to the herders’ communities. These include primary schools, clinics, water points for human and animal use.
The Governor told his guests that in the past two years, his administration had built 10 primary schools and 10 clinics in some of the herders’ communities, and has since concluded plan for ten more of each, which would have since been built but for the activities of the bandits.
In addition, the government has also expended over N100 million to demarcate cattle routes, which had been encroached by farmers, he further said.
“Our engagements with the bandits have been successful because there has never been anymore kidnapping in the state since then.
“Also, all known persons kidnapped by the bandits have been released by their captors.
“The herders rightly complain of abandonment by successive administrations, with no government presence to give them any sence of belonging as citizens of Nigeria.
“Because of the lack of funds available to us, we have to look for support outside to cater for, and carry along the herders by providing essentials like schools, clinics, water points and cattle routes.
Governor Masari assured that Katsina State was ready to meet with whatever reasonable obligation may be required of it by any agency wishing to partner with it.