Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State says the security situation in northwest and north-central geo-political zones will not be allowed to escalate to the status of the Boko Haram crisis in the northeast.
Masari said this on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor said Buhari had specifically given a marching order to the security agencies to "control the situation by all means".
He said serious efforts were currently being made to bring cases of banditry and other criminalities in the two crisis ridden zones of the country to an end.
Masari said: "Currently, the military are in Katsina for their annual super camp. So, over 2000 of them are gathered in Katsina in order to really send a signal to the bandits that the military is ready and willing and they have the capacity to deal with the situation.
"The hope is that the military including the police and other security agencies have been given a marching order by the President to control the situation by all means and it is a task that must be done because we cannot allow the situation in the North-West to develop to a worrisome stage like it is in the North-East.
"So, I think the people living in the rural communities will testify that yes actions are ongoing and those that are being displaced are being well taken care of and so this is the situation."
Masari, who said the government was poised to conquer the bandits in spite of the challenge which the rainy season could pose to the fight against bandits, stressed that State governments in the affected areas were just waiting for the military to take total control of the forests and other affected areas before rolling out their plans for the people affected by banditry.
"You know, the North-Western and North-Central parts of the country where these bandits are is a vast forest area and unfriendly terrain, especially now during the rainy season, moving with heavy military equipment can be very challenged because the soil is soft and the rains are heavy but it is doable.
"No situation is impossible, especially to a willing and determined mind. So, I do believe that we can conquer these bandits and stop them from hibernating into something else," he stressed.
"First of all, in the aspect of non-kinetic measures, what we are waiting for is for the military to take total control of the land areas, then the State and Local Governments will now move in; especially in the area of education, access and water supply, then their means of livelihood, which is mainly agriculture and livestock.
"For us in Katsina, we have concluded all our designs. But we cannot safely get access to where we can make reservations in terms of earth dams. We have already earmarked 30 areas in which we are going to reconstruct all the earth dams that are broken down and construct some that are new in order to provide watering points and again.
"We are reintroducing grazing points. But as it is today, we cannot access the land.
"We have partners that are willing to join hands with us but we have to get the land back in peace because nobody will go and invest where security is not very tight.
"But with the current military operation going on, I am sure before the end of this rainy season, we will have a very conducive atmosphere and free area that people can go back to their normal life.
"I don't think today what we have on ground in terms of people displaced as IDPs are mainly from only two local government, Faskari and Batsari. We are sure before the end of the month end, the rest of the people will go back to their villages and continue with their normal life," he said when asked to speak on best way to achieve sustainable peace and security as a second term governor.
Masari, while speaking on his discussion with the President, said: "for anybody coming from the north west part of Nigeria, especially from my part of north west, the issue today is about security. We took more than 30 minutes discussing the current situation and what needs to be done is being done.
"And so far, the situation is under control in Katsina and I believe in most part of the northwest. But it is not over until it is over and we have discussed extensively and offered our own suggestions and those of us who are on ground and that is actually what we discussed with the president."
The governor, who said he also visited the President to deliver Eid-El Kabir greetings on behalf of all citizens of Katsina, stated that the government and farmers were expecting a bumper harvest this year despite the fact that some communities in nine out of 34 local government areas of Katsina State had been affected negatively by the activities of bandits and other criminals.