Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, in Wednesday, disclosed that he had since 2017 written to the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to designate bandits as terrorists, because it was the only way to change the game against the criminals.
El-Rufai, who expressed sympathy with all those who had suffered pains and sorrow from insecurity “despite our sincere and consistent efforts and investments of hard-earned resources”, urged the federal government to recruit some 774,000 youths to help fight criminality, even as he objected to self-help.
This is as the Kaduna State government has disclosed that a total of 343 people had been so far killed, while 830 others were abducted by bandits between July and September 2021.
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, disclosed this while presenting the Third Quarter Security report to El-Rufai yesterday at the Government House, Kaduna.
In another development, no fewer than 32 passengers were on Wednesday kidnapped at Garin-Gabas village near Zungeru in the Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.
El-Rufai, who spoke on the situation report in his state, however, said his government frowned at the actions of individuals, groups and political actors, who incited citizens to arm themselves.
“The rhetoric of self-help is dangerously misunderstood. It is a recipe for descent into anarchy. Individuals, who perpetrate violent attacks are very often not around, when retributive actions are taken by the victims, and so citizens, who are perceived to share ethnicity or religion with the attackers are then targeted in reprisal,” he said.
He disclosed that in 2017, his state government wrote letters to the federal government, requesting that bandits be declared as terrorists.
El-Rufai however aligned with a recent resolution of the National Assembly on bandits, noting that it was only when they were declared as terrorists that it would allow the Nigerian military to attack and kill the bandits without any major consequences in international law.
“We in the Kaduna State Government, have always aligned with the declaration of bandits as insurgents and terrorists. We have written letters to the Federal Government since 2017, asking for this declaration, because it is the declaration that will allow the Nigerian military to attack and kill these bandits without any major consequences in international law.
“So, we support the resolution by the National Assembly and we are going to follow up with a letter of support, for the federal government to declare these bandits and insurgents as terrorists, so that they will be fair game for our military. This is the view of the Kaduna State Government,” he said.
El-Rufai said the state government would soon establish a Farmers/Herdsmen Reconciliation Council in the state while committees would be set up at the local government, chiefdom and Emirate levels, noting that many state governments in the North West and the North Central had adopted an unconventional approach to help the federal security agencies to better protect communities.
“There is no alternative to launching simultaneous operations. I call for a consensus between the federal government and the the 36 states on an emergency programme of recruitment into the security agencies. Government can change the game significantly by hiring 1,000 willing youths from each of the 774 LGAs in the country into the security agencies.
“This will be a surge in numbers that is unprecedented since the civil war. An influx of 774,000 new boots on the ground will be a significant blow against criminals and an employment boost.
I assure you that we are working hard to solve this problem and it is our solemn duty to do so. We offer our condolences to the security agencies and the families of the security officers that have been killed while trying to keep our people safe,” El-Rufai said
Aruwan, while speaking on the mid-term report, claimed that 69 of the bandits were “neutralised” during the period under review, lamented that the activities of bandits were crippling rural economy and a threat to education as many schools were under threat by the criminals.
In the last two quarters, from January to June, he said a total of 545 people were killed while 1,723 others were abducted by bandits.
Aruwan, in the latest report, explained that the Southern Kaduna Senatorial district recorded the highest number of deaths with 193 while Kaduna Central and Kaduna North Senatorial Districts recorded 130 and 20 deaths respectively.
“From July to September 2021, a total of 343 persons died due to banditry, communal clashes, violent attacks, and reprisals,” he said, adding that, 50 of the victims were women and 22 were minors.