I want to thank His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Katsina State, the Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, for receiving us today, despite the relatively short notice from our end.
2. We are here with at least 20 journalists to get first hand information on the great efforts of the Katsina State government and other affected states in the North-west to combat the menace of banditry and sundry crimes. There is no doubt that the table is turning against the bandits, since Katsina and other affected states came up with a number of novel measures that got the bandits boxed in, and the military stepped up its kinetic approach. Unfortunately, these positive efforts have not received the kind of media attention given to the banditry.
3. We believe these efforts should be trumpeted, not just for the sake of trumpeting it, but as a way of encouraging the states involved, the security agencies that have been risking it all to ensure that we are all safe and the federal government that has done so much, especially in the procurement of platforms, to put the military and other security agencies in a better stead to tackle not just banditry and kidnapping but also terrorism.
4. Your excellency, we did this successfully in 2015, when we took local and international journalists to the areas liberated by our gallant troops in Borno, specifically Konduga, Kaure and Bama. The first hand report from that tour went a long way in putting the efforts of the military in better perspective and silencing naysayers. It also changed the narrative about the efforts of the military at combatting terrorism.
5. We also undertook a similar tour in 2017, when we took some members of the #Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Group on a guided tour of the North-east. The trip availed the BBOG the opportunity to witness and better understand the efforts being made by the Nigerian military to secure freedom for the Chibok girls.
6. It is our hope that this visit will also avail us the opportunity to hear, first hand, from a major player in the efforts to once and for all tackle the menace of banditry in the North-west, and then help to change the narrative out there.
7. We hope Your Excellency will, in addition to briefing us today, be kind enough to take questions from the journalists here, who are from both the private and public media establishments.
8. Once again, Your Excellency, thank you for hosting us on this visit.