On Thursday, the Senate challenged the Federal Government over its inability to tackle the alarming rate of insecurity in the country, particularly banditry in the North-West geopolitical zone. It stressed that introduction of state police remained the only solution to the menace.
The Senate took the position following separate motions moved by senators Emmanuel Bwacha from Taraba State and his colleague from Zamfara State, Kabir Marafa.
While Bwacha drew the attention of the red chamber to the inability of the security agencies to tackle the rising cases of kidnapping in Taraba, Marafa lamented the unabated killings of his people by bandits.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said apart from the establishment of community or state police, the funding of the Nigeria Police Force was essential to tackle the menace.
He said, “From the contributions we have had, I think it is key that we begin to look at the problem and look for long-term solutions. I think that what we did yesterday (Tuesday) in trying to strengthen the funding of the police through the Police Reform Bill is right.
“The sooner that we can pass that bill will also help us in addressing the insecurity challenges.
“But more importantly is that we must go back to what a lot of us had been advocating here that there is the need for us to have state or community police. It is the way forward. Otherwise, we will continue to run into these problems.
“On the area of oversight, there is a lot also that we need to do to ensure that we hold the security agencies accountable. And we need to move very fast in this area.”
The Senate in its resolution commended Nigerians irrespective of cultural, religious and ethnic differences for coming out in large numbers to show solidarity to the plight of their brothers and sisters in Zamfara.
The red chamber urged the National Assembly to make provision for N10bn in the 2019 appropriation bill as intervention fund to cater for the Internally Displaced Persons and other persons affected by the activities of bandits in Zamfara State.
The Senate also urged the Federal Government to set up an ad hoc committee to be known as presidential initiative on Zamfara with a 10-year lifespan to manage the said funds and subsequent allocations and donations.
Marafa, who rose through orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules to move his motion, said the problem of insecurity in Zamfara State was deteriorating daily, adding that this called for urgent legislative intervention.
Marafa said, “Since 2011, as a result of the unabating activities of the criminals in the state, roughly estimated 11,000 males have been killed leaving behind an average of 22,000 widows and by extension, 44,000 orphans.
“These figures are just by conservative estimates because the figures are higher. Bandits and heavily armed kidnappers operate with little or no resistance in Gusau, the state capital, making less than 75 per cent of the people in Zamfara not to be sleeping in their houses.
“The situation has nothing to do with politics because my own blood sister was brutally murdered in her matrimonial home in February this year and even two of my cousins were killed outside the state capital few weeks back.”
Bwacha, on his own part, alerted the chamber on the series of kidnappings in his state and suggested that there should be legislative backing for individuals who wanted to carry arms for self- defence.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, commended Marafa for always bringing the deteriorating security situation in Zamfara to the front burner of discourse in the Senate .
He said, “For government to tackle the security problem headlong, the abnormality of Nigeria being the only federation with centralised police, must be addressed.”
The Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, said the problem of the country was the constitution itself, which he noted, provided for an “over- centralised federation or better put, unitary system as against a federal system of government.”
According to him, as long as the problematic constitution is not amended by way of removing policing from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to pave the way for state police, criminality at local levels will continue unabated.
Robbers kill five, injured 10 in Katsina
Meanwhile, at a stakeholders’ forum in Katsina State on Wednesday, the Caretaker Chairman of the Batsari Local Government Area, Manir Muazu, revealed that bandits struck on Tuesday at Garimi/Magaji Ado ward along Jibia/Batsari Road, killing five people and injuring 10 in the process.
At the forum, which was attended by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the council boss said the bandits also set ablaze several shops and vehicles.
Adamu assured the forum that his squad meant business and would flush out the bandits.
NAF bombs bandits’ camps in Zamfara, scores killed
Also, the Nigerian Air Force identified at least eight bandits’ camps in Zamfara State, adding that it conducted air strikes on the locations and killed scores of the gunmen.
The bandits’ camps were discovered in Doumborou, Sububu, West Malamawa, Baturia Pond, Kagara Forest, Kamarawa, Kunduma and Rugu Forest areas of the state.
The air force said the bombings of the camps were carried out by the Air Task Force for Operation Diran Mikiya, noting that additional fighter jets had been deployed in the North-West for the air interdiction missions.
The military said on Wednesday that their intelligence also revealed that some bandits were “fleeing towards the border between Nigeria and Niger Republic” and the air force authorities were liaising with Niger Republic to ensure that the bandits did not escape through the southern part of the neighbouring country.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said in a statement that the air force discovered and bombed the bandits’ camps from Monday through Wednesday.
He said, “The air strikes were intensified on Monday with the deployment of additional aircraft aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts in Sububu, Rugu and Kagara forests.
“On the first day of the operation, the ATF conducted coordinated air raids against multiple identified bandits’ hideouts at Doumborou, Sububu, West Malamawa, Baturia Pond and Rugu Forest, where several bandits were neutralised and their camps destroyed.
“On Tuesday, the ATF conducted waves of attacks against three other locations. In all, we degraded eight camps and neutralised scores of bandits.
“Reports indicate that, as a result of the air strikes, some bandits are fleeing towards the border between Nigeria and the Niger Republic. Accordingly, the ATF is liaising with relevant authorities to ensure that the bandits are prevented from escaping through the southern part of Niger Republic.”
The air force said it was working with the ground forces and other agencies to sustain efforts at ending banditry in the North-West region.
Source: The Punch