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Banditry: Arewa Group want FG to adopt Gov Mutawalle’s Strategies for N’West

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

The Arewa Elders Initiatives and Interactive Group have commended the security formula employed by the Governor of Zamfara state, Muhammad Bello Mutawalle, to address the issue of saboteurs (Informants) which is believed to slow down the end to banditry and other criminal activities in the Northwestern part of the country.

The group in a statement signed by its National Chairman, Hon Alhassan Ado Gwadabe, after a two-days interactive session with some selected NGOs in Kaduna tagged; ‘Emerging challenges facing the North West and Issues behind success of the fight against Banditry and Kidnapping ahead of 2023 elections’ noted that the new strategies employed by Governor Bello Mutawalle of Zamfara state, is the best antidote for banditry in the region.

The strategies according to them include: arrests of informants, shutting down networks, banning of sale of fuel and exposing collaborators in communities, demolishing of their structures and removal of traditional rulers or community leaders who are accused of connivance and negligence. Saying it will positively restoring peace in the region.

The group therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Service Chiefs and governors of the region to come up with new strategies and tactics that could ensure absolute success in the ongoing fight against insecurity challenges facing people in the area, especially with the recent reports of the escalation of banditry activities and killing of innocent people in some part of Niger and Kebbi states.

They noted that within two months, Niger, Kaduna and Kebbi States, have lost over two hundred people as a result of multiple attacks by the suspected bandits operating within the Kaduna/Niger axis.

“The greatest challenge for the fight against bandits now declared as terrorists is to use the kind of application of the non-kinetic methods introduced by Governor of Zamfara State, Hon Bello Muhammad Mutawalle of operation ‘Flush Out’ by arresting informants, use of traditional and political solution, giving all the needed support to vigilante groups, include logistics, resources and solidarity to other law enforcement agents going into operations.

“To us, emulating methods used by the Zamfara state government are yielding positive results, exposing some Informants hideouts, assisting in the strategic way of the fight against insecurity challenges in the state that has now brought it down drastically compared to past records. There is relative improvement of peaceful atmosphere and free movement of people and activities in certain troubled places that are hitherto no-go place.

“Going by the report of gathering of over two million people that converged in the state capital, Gusau across the country for their 3-days religious activities without any report of attacks or kidnapping, it’s really an encouraging matter and good development to say, peace is gradually returning in Zamfara despite the pockets of challenges in some places.

“We, therefore, suggest that there must be collaboration, understanding, trust and intelligence sharing among all the relevant security agencies involved with locals and government as deliberate plans to achieve desired goals.” They said.

The group added that because the use of military might alone cannot bring an end to such killings and destruction of lives and properties of innocent people in the region, hence, the need for healthy collaboration among the effects states governors together with community and political leaders, stakeholders on security and others as exhibited by the governor of Zamfara state.

The group however advised governors of Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina State to organise a special retreat and stakeholders town hall meeting in Gusau for greater discussions and views about such challenges ahead of the 2023 political activities.

“We therefore condemned in totality the alleged accusation of some politicians who are supporting the recent court case initiated by one informant who admitted to have been collaborating, supporting and providing information to bandits in the region on the ground of human rights violation.

“With this court case, it has become imperative that certain elites and politicians are behind the escalation of such attacks despite FG and states efforts toward achieving desired goals of the success of fight against insecurity challenges and flushing bandits and their collaborators.

“With the recent development, the Zamfara Governor was vindicated that some elites and political class in Zamfara and Sokoto state are culpable and collaborators for the escalation of banditry activities in Zamfara and Sokoto states respectively. They are the true enemies of the success of the fight against insecurity or trying to publicized the fight of insecurity in the region for selfish interest. 

“Lives and properties of people are endangered daily as a result of constant attacks and mayhems of banditry activities, yet political leaders are so engaged with political activities, ignoring such important challenges that can consume all.

“We urge traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to intensify efforts on public enlightenment and always ready to assist those that are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property with useful information that can help them deliver on this mandate.

“Now that Ramadan is fast approaching, we want to make a strong appeal to the federal government, states and other well-meaning Nigerians to assist these victims on the run, especially those that have been displaced by the nefarious activities of the bandits terrorising communities and now migrating to presume safer places in the region.” They noted.

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