Three communities along Abuja-Kaduna highway namely Akilibu, Rijana and Katari have appealed to Governor Nasir El-Rufai not to relocate or clear their settlements.
On May 19, Mr El-Rufai had proposed the clearance and relocation of the communities, saying that they harboured criminals and informants.
Magaji Danjuma-Katari, the Chairman of the communities, made the appeal at a news conference on Friday in Kaduna.
“To the best of our knowledge, our communities are not aware of the involvement of any of our members, either directly or indirectly, in any verifiable cases of banditry within and outside our communities.
“Thus the bogus allegation that we are collaborators of banditry is largely ruse, trivial and unfounded.
“Contrary to the induced negative narratives from questionable sources and one-sided news vendors, the inhabitants of these communities have severally been on the receiving end of banditry,” he said.
He explained that there was a major cattle route that emanated from the core North and traverses or crosses the Abuja – Kaduna highway at a spot near Katari which made it convenient for bandit attacks.
He urged government to engage relevant government agencies and critical stakeholders in the communities, to foster a workable synergy in the fight against banditry in the area.
Mr Danjuma-Katari also urged government to discreetly verify and cross check all security reports relating to the communities, to ensure that they were not products of mere guess work.
He stated that any member of the communities identified as a collaborator of banditry should be dealt with in accordance with the dictates of the law.
He recommended that security operatives deployed to the communities should be properly equipped and motivated to meet the challenges of the time.
“Recruit more members of our youths into the security forces to reinforce the concept of community policing by gaining the confidence of the communities.
“Upgrade the educational status of the communities. Make provision for another Police Division to accommodate cases from Chikun LGA along the Abuja – Kaduna highway,” he said.