A 10-year- old boy’s photograph recently went viral in the media for being a member of a vigilante group in Safana local government area of Katsina State.
The boy’s father, Abdulakadir Ado, who is the leader of the group in the area, gave reasons why his son joined the group to defend their community.
He told LEADERSHIP Weekend that every child of his son’s age already knew how to handle guns because of the incessant killings, raping and abduction for ransom bedeviling the axis, saying the situation they found themselves made his son and others to join the vigilante group to fight banditry.
Ado said: “I am speaking to you as leader of the vigilante group in Safana, we have nothing to do than to appreciate God for the situation we find ourselves. We least expected to see this day, but thank God we were able to make it.
“Everybody in this community has to be a member of the vigilante because whether they join or not when bandits invade the town they will kill everybody. That is why every child of my son’s age already knows how to handle guns.”
He said what is happening was from God and He alone would wipe away their tears, and called on the government to assist them in the fight.
“About 60 per cent of villages has been deserted and abandoned, a lot of people have relocated to the cities because of insecurity.
“We are the brave ones that usually confront the bandits any time they launch an attack, and with God’s grace, we always succeed. Even though sometimes they also overpowered us, we never gave up in the fight.”
Responding to the kind of weapons they use, Ado said they are locally made with the pipe -’Mai Bulogi’’, adding: “I am telling you there’s no month that passes without going to confront bandits, sometimes we seized their weapons and handed them over to security operatives.
“The guns we seized are uncountable, but I can give an estimate of about 200 firearms since the inception of the vigilante group here. Just between January and now I handed over about 15 guns to the police in this area. We used to snatch AK-47, AK-49, G3 guns and others from bandits and then take them to the authorities because we are not permitted to hold guns.
“We want the government to train and empower us with some facilities for just a week and we will restore normalcy to our area by the grace of God.”
The vigilante leader further stressed that poor road network had been the major challenge in the operation, adding that In most cases, they had to trek to confront bandits anytime they attack a certain community.
He said the police suffered in most cases while using their vehicle to chase bandits. “They often reached the scene late when bandits had already finished their operation, and the local guns couldn’t withstand the firearms of the bandits,” he added.