‘I’m not the first to say it’ — Masari addresses call for his resignation over ‘self-defence’ comment

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Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina, has dismissed call by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) for his resignation over his stance on self defence against bandits.

Masari said he is not the first governor to ask residents to defend themselves against attackers, adding that the call for his resignation is a “sheer lack of understanding” of the situation in the country.

Residents of the state have been at the receiving end of attacks by bandits, which have led to kidnappings and killings.

Speaking during a visit to Jibia LGA, Masari said residents of the state need to rise above meekness, and defend themselves against bandits.

The CNG had in a statement by Jamilu Charanchi, its coordinator for the north-west, said Masari’s call was an admission that he was not in charge of the state and had failed in his constitutional responsibility of providing security for its citizens, hence, he should resign.

But reacting in a statement issued on Sunday by Abdul Labaran, his director-general on media, the governor said he will not succumb to the “intimidation of some self-serving disgruntled elements, masquerading as human rights campaigners by resigning”.

Masari said security is an exclusive right of the federal government and governors only do what they can to protect their residents.

“Security is on the exclusive list of the Nigerian Constitution, which means it is exclusively a federal government affair,” the governor said.

“In matters of security, a governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state only in name, because the various security chiefs working in the state take orders not from him, but from their superiors in Abuja.

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“The only things they take from governors are the financial and material assistance (both solicited and unsolicited), which they extend to the security institutions in the states.

“As constitutionally elected office holders, governors do not succumb to the intimidation of some self-serving disgruntled elements, masquerading as human rights campaigners by resigning.

“If they are found wanting in the discharge of their responsibilities, the Nigerian Constitution has provided the protocols for easing them out of office, and no House of Assembly is in the dark about that.

“Masari is not the first Governor to make the suggestion. In states where the citizens do not politicise security issues, they rally round their leaders who had similarly admonished their people.

“Therefore, to suggest that governor Masari should resign for his patriotic candor and courage in admonition his people to wake up and resist the bandits by acquiring arms for self-defence, betrays a sheer lack of the understanding of the letter and spirit as well as the workings of the Nigerian Constitution, or a motive which is anything but altruistic.”

This is not the first time the groups have asked Masari to resign from his position as governor.

In June 2020, protesters under the aegis of CNG, took to the streets in the state and called on the governor to resign over the frequent attacks by bandits.

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