Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Banditry: Tofa urges Northerners to set up security committees, says govt alone can’t fight insecurity

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via ibroramalan@gmail.com, or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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An elder statesman and former presidential candidate, Bashir Tofa, has called the northern community leaders to constitute security committees in their localities with a view to assisting the government in securing the region and the country as a whole.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom and other criminalities have bedeviled the northern region. Just recently, Fulani bandits had kidnapped no fewer than 340 students of Government Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State.

Speaking during a webinar organized by the 3Logy Talks on Saturday, Mr Tofa said government alone could not take complete care of security situations, hence the need for the community to help security agencies with intelligence reports.

“First and foremost, to continue to expect that Governments alone can take complete care of Security is wrong.

“We must assess the capacities of our Governments and do what we can, as concerned communities, to help them deal with our Security situations,” said Mr Tofa while speaking on the theme: ‘Towards Identifying a Panacea to Security Problems Bedevilling Northern Nigeria’, moderated by Nafisa Yammama.

The elder statesman, therefore, recommended that every Ward should form a security committee or other major concern in the area and appoint competent and experienced people on them.

He said: “The most feasible way to begin is for just one brave person to consult with just two or three respectful people and convince them of the need.

“They then suggest at least two or three additional names each, always considering their character, experience and standing in the community, including the Youth and the Women. They then call them for a meeting to set up the Committee, say on ‘Security’.”

“For the need now is SECURITY, they start with it, probably more than anything else. In every community, you will find all kinds of people, especially retired uniformed personnel, Judges, Businessmen, Politicians, Traditional Title Holders, Doctors and Youth and Women organisations etc.

“These Community members will then set up their Committees, making sure that the bulk of the members are people with appropriate experience, including the Ward Heads (Masu Unguwanni) and the  Village Head (Dagaci), if they have one.

“They then invite the Divisional  Police Officer who covers their area, inform him/her and what sort of cooperation and advise they need, including training of their vigilante outfit and communication issues.

“Where the Security situation is serious, the Committee should seek the help of the Police and the L. G. Authority, so that their “Local Security Defence Force” (SDF) is not only Defensive but also, Offensive.

“This means they may, with the help of designated Security Agents, go, seek out and neutralise the culprits in their hideouts. Do not wait to be attacked, if you know there is a threat of that.”

Mr Tofa stressed the importance of local intelligence and technology, saying that informants must be recruited to infiltrate terrorists and bring genuine and actionable intelligence.

He said: “With Ward Heads exchanging intelligence within their L.G. and all those on the network, the movement of any suspicious groups can be monitored effectively.

“There is a Security Application which is simple to use, that enables network reporting, which will also be instantly seen by all those on the network, including the DPOs and the State Police and the DSS Commands.

“Ward Heads and/or others can be selected and trained to use it to report anything suspicious in their areas. If nothing suspicious is seen, they will still report, “nothing suspicious”, as that too is an important report.

“It is important that the L. G. Authority and the State Government pay keen attention and help any community that desires to do to this, does it within legal boundaries. Again, it will help tremendously if special reward is set for any successful operation.

“Hunters and others like them can be employed and be part of the effort to venture into the forests and hideouts and to seek and destroy, for an attractive reward.

“Such rewards for valour and successful operation should also be paid to the Security Agent(s) and the Military, with verifiable claims. But this licence is only to be issued to specific individuals or groups, with clear instructions and guidelines,

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