Tofa, Sani point way out of criminality, insecurity
Erstwhile Presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the aborted June 1993 presidential poll, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa and Senator Shehu Sani have indicated that fight against poverty and the Zamfara model are effective ways of arresting criminality and banditry in the country.
Comrade Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the immediate past Senate, specifically enjoined governors of the 19 northern states to take a cue on how to end kidnapping and banditry from their Zamfara State counterpart.
Speaking when he received Chikun Youth Ambassadors (CYA), led by Khalifa Usman Shu’aib, at his country home, Sani expressed dismay that kidnapping for ransom is demonising states of the northwest geopolitical zone. He said noted that while the malaise of kidnapping and banditry is prevalent majorly in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States, governors of Zamfara and Katsina were recently reported to have entered into negotiations with the criminals in a bid to forestall breach of peace in their states.
He contended that government at all levels have failed in their responsibility to protect the citizens, stressing that the country is descending so low to the point that bandits currently give conditions.
The Senator said that under the prevailing conditions, peace with bandits could only be sustained if it is oiled with money, adding: “Nowadays, the poor and rich, powerful and weak have given up on traveling along the Kaduna -Abuja road, stampeding the train station at Rigasa.
“Right now the government is failing to protect our citizens. Our people are been kidnapped everyday and they are selling their lands, farm produce and houses to pay kidnappers. This is a serious problem for this state, the entire North and Nigeria.
“There can be no meaningful development in the North as long as the trend of kidnapping continues. The governors of the north, particularly those from the ruling party should come down from their high horse and learn from the Zamfara State governor on how to end kidnapping and banditry. They should keep away pride and arrogance and be humble to learn from this young man in Zamfara State.”
On his part, Tofa maintained that unless and until government tackles the scourge of poverty and stems incidences of corruption in the country, the spate of criminalities threatening the country’s corporate existence maybe far from over.
While challenging the newly appointed Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi and other political appointees from Kano State to end the security threats bedeviling the state and other Northwest states, the veteran politician said security is a harbinger of peace.
Tofa spoke at a stakeholders meeting on critical challenges frustrating the enduring peace in Kano State. He regretted the incessant kidnapping, banditry and other heinous criminalities especially in the North.He highlighted the critical measures governments at all levels are undertaking to end the rising cases of insecurity, insisted that attaining tangible growth and development could remain a mirage if the stream of corruption and poverty is not checked. He added that the growing poverty, riddled with youth unemployment in Nigeria, as well as continued embezzlement of public funds will further trigger crimes in the land.
His words: “Security is a major threat in Nigeria and if there is no security there will be no peace and in the absence of peace, there will be no development. So, we need security, not just in Kano, not just in the North, but also in the entire country. And until we have peace, we cannot talk about our unity and making sure it is intact. Until then, any person irrespective of ethnic background, religion and region can leave any part of the country peacefully. So it is quite important we have security in every part of the country.
“Although government is doing much based on the limited capacity and resources, the community needs to do more in assisting the government to function properly. As community we don’t need to rely on government for everything. I think there are so many things we, as a community needs to do to assist the government, but that is not to say the government does not need to do its entrusted responsibility. As a matter of fact, the government and community need to work together to attain overall development in the society.
“Again, we need community alliances and government support to tackle the infiltration of criminals in our midst. Don’t forget, there is so much poverty in the land and poverty is the mother of all evils. If people are hungry they don’t know and don’t want to know what the future holds for them.
“Nigerians now see a lot of wrongs and corruption in this government and they have seen people elected within few months and becoming super rich. These and many other anomalies are making the people angry and when they realise they don’t have any future, they resort to criminalities and kidnapping, and the effect is unrest in the society. So, we have to eliminate this cankerworm, which is corruption and make sure the youths are gainfully employed. Government can do this by way of restoring hope to the youth and the criminalities will stop.”
Earlier, the convener of the meeting and chairman of Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF), Ibrahim Waiya, told journalists that the stakeholders’ meeting was targeted at finding common grounds on the societal challenges in Kano.Waiya raised concerns over the state of insecurity, particularly political discords, which he claimed have instigated needless conflict and frustrating enduring peace in the state.The KCSF chairman therefore demanded the urgent commitment of government to check insecurity, accountability, transparency and effective service delivery to common man on the streets.