While addressing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, on the State of the Nation, NSCIA’s director of administration, Alhaji Yusuf Chinedozi Nwoha, said that the level of insecurity nationwide had reached an unacceptable crescendo that declaring a state of emergency on it appears not only necessary but also pressing.
‘’The level of insecurity in the country has reached an unacceptable crescendo that declaring a state of emergency on it appears not only necessary but also pressing. Therefore, the council stridently calls on the federal government and all its agencies (including the military) to use whatever means possible to arrest this descent into anarchy.
‘’The situation of Nigeria today is desperate and desperate situations require desperate measures in the collective interest of well-meaning Nigerians. Let the monster of insecurity be tackled actively and proactively with the full weight of Nigeria‘s security and defence capacity!
He noted that some misguided elements had resorted to the dangerous game of playing politics with security, stressing that “political mercenaries and religious combatants united by rapacious greed and chronic hatred have occupied the public space with putrid writing and toxic speeches.”
Nwoha further said that some public figures with ulterior motives had offered themselves as “willing tools in the hands of disgruntled politicians to play politics with insecurity without minding that when the fire they are stoking becomes an uncontrollable conflagration, there will be nowhere for them to play their politics as the nation would have been consumed.
“Rather than see the monstrosity that insecurity has become as a national challenge that requires collective action, agents of destabilisation seek to score cheap political goals and engage in self-indicting propaganda.
‘’One of them is the recently organised street show by some religious leaders who give political coloration to grinding insecurity fuelled by hypocrisy and hubris. But efforts must be double through the instrumentality of hard work and prayers so that the enemies of Nigeria will be unveiled and this is where the government must double or triple its efforts at counter-insecurity measures,” he said.
Nwoha insisted that Boko Haram or terrorism had no place in Islam, saying more Muslims, including Imams, have been slaughtered, displaced and dismembered than Christians since Boko Haram became what it is in Nigeria.
“We want to state in unequivocal terms, and for the umpteenth time, that Boko Haram does not represent Islam or Muslims. The group and the enemies of Islam hiding behind its mask are pursuing a rogue, venal and doggy agenda far removed from Islam,’’ he said.
“It is, therefore, the height of insincerity, wickedness, falsehood and hypocrisy to suggest that Boko Haram is a ploy to eliminate Christians, a dummy being promoted by some dealers camouflaging as religious leaders to their followers and the outside world,” Nwoha added.
While attributing the spike of insecurity in the country to poverty and relentless lack of education, Nwoha said that “rather than playing the blame game or playing to the gallery as ethnic irredentists and religious bigots are wont to do, what is important is to support the government to eliminate insecurity in the country.”
He, therefore, urged the government to up the ante of efforts and give enough teeth to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to bite and alleviate the pains of poor, distressed and displaced Nigerians.
Northern Groups Unveil Regional Security Outfit, Shege Ka Fasa
Also yesterday, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) unveiled the Northern Regional Security Initiative codenamed:“Shege Ka Fasa“ for ratification by governors in the 19 northern states as part of measures to address the security challenges confronting them.
The spokesman of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, told a press conference in Kaduna before unveiling the outfit, that for the past 12 years, the North had struggled with disabling challenges that include dwindling economy, rising poverty and more worrying, a crippling security situation that had taken a huge toll on life and property, and the overall cohesion of the region.
Suleiman said that the security challenges manifested in 2008 in the form of a deadly insurgency from the Northeast and within a short time, spread to other parts of the region and virtually turned the entire region into a battlefield.
“A new dimension was introduced to the farmers/herders’ conflict which gradually deteriorated into an uncontrollable proportion and deepened the artificial rift between communities in the region. This trend suddenly metamorphosed into a deadly armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom which is recycled for arms and drugs. This is in addition to another frustrating trend of the theft and forced trafficking in northern children to other parts of the country for reasons that are largely dubious.
“The culmination of these security challenges has for the past decade turned the entire region into a house of horror with violent killings reported on a daily basis, communities displaced with formal and informal internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps spreading across the region.
“The situation today, on most northern highways, innocent travellers are waylaid, robbed and abducted, towns and villages attacked and sacked by bandits who have created an atmosphere of palpable fear across the region. As the situation grows more desperate by the day with the North as the most porous and vulnerable, with northerners as the most distressed and estranged,” he lamented
“By this, today we unveil the symbols for the ‘Shege Ka Fasa’ outfit which would be formally inaugurated in the coming few weeks when all necessary legal processes might have been completed or formally adopted and ratified by the northern states’ governors.
“It is clear that the current desperate situation in the North can be largely contained and eventually controlled by intensifying the task of anticipating and checkmating the manoeuvres of all criminal elements and blocking the supply channels for such dangerous merchandise as firearms and drugs.
“That in the prevailing circumstances, the only option, is to resort to voluntary self-defence mechanisms in line with initiatives taken by other regions that are even least affected in comparison to what obtains in the North,” he said.
CNG, therefore, resolved that „against the backdrop of these concerns and observations, the Coalition of Northern Groups does not wish to remain silent or passive and allow things that affect the North and potentially cause greater instability in the country to continue unchecked.
“Aware also of the need for concerted efforts to assist the federal government to restore peace and security and to disband all militias and armed groups in Northern Nigeria to ensure that no group has the capacity to challenge the state in its prerogative to maintain law and order, and protect citizens‘ life and property, the CNG has initiated practical measures for the setting up of a Northern Regional Security Outfit to complement the efforts of the police, the military, the security services to detect, expose and defeat all criminal machinations and carry out specific and general tasks that would realign the attitude and thinking of the public with the ideals and objectives of the founding fathers of the region.
“In addition to performing general complementary tasks for enhancing security in the region, the outfit shall also coordinate operations against the influx of hard drugs into the North, take steps to neutralise all centres of gravity for the supply, manufacture and distribution of such drugs and other dangerous substances,“ Suleiman said.
The group calls the attention of all governors of northern states to the urgent necessity to join their counterparts in the Southwest and Southeast by adopting and ratifying this initiative for northern regional security and providing the necessary legal framework for its operation in order to secure the lives of the people that are in constant threat.
Governors of the six Southwest states had recently launched the South Western Security Network, which they codenamed “Operation Amotekun” to provide security services in the region. The federal government promptly declared it illegal until a meeting coordinated by the presidency with the stakeholders resolved that the governors should come up with a legal framework for it.
Senate Grills IGP For 4 Hours
After a closed-door session with the lawmakers, the IGP told journalists that the insecurity problem needs every Nigerians’ involvement, insisting that state governors and local government chairmen should take up their responsibilities.
He said: The people that are committing these crimes have reasons that make them to do so. If it is lack of employment, if it is lack of education or those issues that will require intervention by the government, the state governors should take responsibility. Local government chairmen should take responsibility. It is not that everything will be left to security agencies alone.”
The IGP said that he appeared before the Senate to brief the lawmakers on the concept of community policing, adding that „if you can remember, last year we sensitised the country on the need to adopt community policing and the concept is to give policing back to the community, let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that can lead to the commission of crime and we work with the community to solve them.
“So I have explained the concept of community policing to the Senate which involves partnership with communities. You can have traditional institutions as a community. You can have the National Union of Road Transport Workers as a community. You can have the media as a community and various communities that you can have partnership with. If you are talking about partnership we are talking about problem solving. We need to solve problems that evolve in the community,” he stated.
“The IG answered questions bordering on national security challenges, banditry, assaults on our major roads across the country, illegal circulation of fire arms and efforts on encouraging synergy between the federal and state governments from distinguished senators.
“The Senate thereafter resolved to support the Nigeria police through legislative interventions. The police force must find a way to be more operationally proactive to protect the citizens,” Lawan said.
Nigerians Want Results, Gbajabimila tells Security Chiefs
Relatedly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged security chiefs to intensify efforts at tackling the security challenges in the country because Nigerians want results.
He said that although the service chiefs were doing a lot, the anxiety among Nigerians was enough reason for the military commanders to redouble their efforts and challenged them to take the battle to the criminals.
Gbajabiamila spoke yesterday at the meeting of the joint House Committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force with the chief of defence staff, chief of army staff, chief of naval staff and the chief of air staff.
“I thought I should be here to encourage everybody that we‘re all on the same page. We all know the situation in Nigeria today, we can‘t hide from it, we can‘t shy away from it, and we cannot pretend that it doesn‘t exist.
“So, it was a natural reaction to what was going on in the country. Back home, our constituents are on our necks. People are dying every day, they are dying callously in ways that you can only find in countries without security forces. But we know that you guys are doing a lot,“ he said.
“I believe the committee is well-equipped to handle these issues. This is our priority. It‘s the government‘s priority, and it should also be our priority in the House. It‘s major in our legislative agenda, and we must address is frontally, squarely and however and whatever needs to be done,“ he said.
Police Neutralise 250 Terrorists, Bandits
In Kaduna State, men of “Operation Puff Adder” of the Nigeria Police backed by the special forces of the Police Airwing have neutralised over 250 suspected terrorists and bandits, terrorising the state capital and its environs.
The operation which commenced in the early hours of February 5, 2020, was carried out by a combined team of operatives of “Operation Puff Adder” made up of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement he issued yesterday, said that the special operatives of ‘Operation Puff Adder’, in a daring offensive, stormed one of the largest operational camps of the Ansaru Terror Group (also housing other bandits and kidnappers) located in Kuduru Forest, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State and successfully neutralised over 250 high-profile members of the Ansaru Terror Group.
“The operation, which commenced in the early hours of 5th February, 2020, was carried out by a combined team of operatives of Operation Puff Adder made up of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The operation was necessitated by actionable intelligence linking terror and criminal elements in the super camp to a series of terror-related violence, kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling and other heinous crimes across the country.”
Mba further noted that „unfortunately, during the operation, a Police Bell helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover for the ground troops came under attack from the bandits using sophisticated anti-aircraft rifles and GPMG.
“Commendably, the pilot and the co-pilot who demonstrated uncommon courage and expertise successfully landed the aircraft at the Air Force Base, Kaduna without further incident. They were thereafter evacuated for medical treatment. Both officers who sustained non-life threatening injuries are currently receiving treatment and are in stable condition,” he said.