Decentralise police, power, judiciary now, El-Rufai tells FG
• Terrorists have lost right to live, says El-Rufai
• ACF warns northern youths against reprisal attacks
• Army begins show of force in Imo after third attack in 72 hours
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has re-echoed his call for the establishment of state police, devolution of power to the component units and decentralisation of the judicial system to tackle the exigencies of present times, because Nigeria is at war with criminal and divisive elements bent on bringing the country to its knees.
The governor made the call yesterday at the 18th Town Hall Meeting entitled: ‘Setting Benchmarks for Enhancing Security and National Unity in Nigeria’, held at Kaduna State University, Kaduna, which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
El-Rufai stated that bandits and terrorists tormenting the country have all lost their right to life and should be wiped out. He stressed that the current security situation calls for national consensus as Nigeria is at war.
El-Rufai, who blamed the Nigerian state for not rising up to its duties in dealing with the escalating crisis in the country also blamed the insecurity on lack of coordination among security agencies, adding that the judicial system has become a safe haven for criminals due to undue delay in the prosecution of criminals.
He called on the security agencies to identify, and deal decisively with all state and non-state actors engaged in conducts that amount to challenging the supremacy of the Nigerian state and the Constitution without ethnic profiling or discriminatory treatment.
According to the governor, to address the banditry problem in the Northwest and north central, “we must implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan already produced two years ago to enable accelerated investment in modern animal husbandry, incorporating the rapid sedentarisation of herders in known locations.”
He said: “This country does not have enough soldiers, uniformed police and secret police to protect citizens across its vast swathes, particularly the forests. The limited number of boots on the ground are not well equipped and are significantly lacking in the technology that can make their limited numbers matter a lot. Centralised policing in a federation is not only a contradiction in terms. The state governments today bear most of the burden of the running costs of the Federal Police anyway, so why not the sub-nationals, the state police now. So I repeat my persistent call for state police as soon as possible.”
The governor, who also heads the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) committee on restructuring, had last December, said the draft bill produced and submitted by his committee in January 2018 was stepped down for fear of politicization ahead of the 2019 general elections, promising that the draft bill would be given consideration before the present administration ends its tenure.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that the general state of insecurity, as reflected in incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping for ransom, are triggering rising call for secession as well as politicization of ethnic and religious differences.
He said: “How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative? We believe that finding a way out of the situation in which we have found ourselves requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities and leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.”
The minister argued that the correct starting point towards addressing the myriad of problems is the building of an “elite consensus” on security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria, adding that such elite consensus had worked in the past.
A day after the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said attacks on northerners in the South were targeted to provoke the north, which earned the body some backlash from other regional bodies, Arewa leaders yesterday condemned calls by Northern youths over any reprisal attack against the Igbo resident in the north.
The Deputy Chairman of ACF, Senator Ibrahim Ida, had on Wednesday said: “We are being provoked by incessant attacks on northerners in the South. We must therefore ensure at the end that nobody takes us for granted or underestimates us.”
But rising from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting yesterday presided over by ACF national chairman, Audu Ogbeh, the Arewa leaders said the youths should refrain themselves from any lawless act and avoid any plans to attack the Ibos and their business interests in the north, following the recent violence in parts of the Southeast.
In a communiqué released by the spokesman of the group, Emmanuel Yawe, ACF condemned the security challenges bedeviling the country, saying: “The Forum expressed displeasure at the state of affairs in the north and in the country in general.
“The Forum condemned the activities of insurgents, kidnappers and bandits in the north, saying their activities are killing the peace and progress for which the north was noted when the founders of the region were in power.
“We warn our youths who have suddenly started distributing messages on the social media calling on reprisal attacks on Ibos and their business interests in the north. We, the Arewa Consultative Forum, stand against all lawless acts of self-help and call on all northern youths to stop such evil plans. They do not enjoy our support. The ACF believes in dialogue and consultation as a way of bringing peace and normalcy back to our troubled region and nation.”
The ACF also regretted that the kidnapped students of Afaka College of Forestry Mechanization had remained in captivity for weeks and the Kaduna State Government has not done much to get them released. The Forum agreed to take up their plight with the state and Federal Government.
SUSTAINED attacks by suspected anarchists in Imo State continued yesterday as gunmen stormed a police station in the wee hours of Thursday and abducted a police officer. It was the third attack on police division in Imo in 72 hours.
Orlando Ikeokwu, Imo Command police spokesman, said two police officers were also injured in the attack in Mbaitoli local government area of the state.
Ebikam Nokey, a community leader, said the gunmen managed to free several suspects from the police station. According to a resident, Nwachukwu Nnmeribe, policemen on duty engaged the attackers in a gun duel, but they were overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
This came three days after 1,844 inmates escaped in a jailbreak in the state. The police blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army yesterday began show of force in Imo. The military exercise was an offshoot of Monday attacks on Owerri Correctional Center and the Imo State Police Command headquarters, intended to boost the morale of security agents and restore confidence of the people in security agents.
According to a security source, “the operation show of force is a military exercise targeted at restoring the confidence of the people in the security agencies. It is also a way of raising the morale of the operatives after Monday’s deadly attacks. It is a reassurance that the security agents have the capacity and capability to enforce public order and decorum.”
There was huge presence of military men on Orlu-Owerri Road, Owerri-Onitsha expressway and Owerri-Okigwe Road. Also, high presence of military men also patrolled the metropolis as fear continued to pervade the atmosphere.