A socio-cultural group, Arewa Peace and Unity Front, has tasked communities ravaged by the insurgency to volunteer information of suspicious elements and Boko Haram group to security agencies in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the group leader, Bulama Danladi, stated that the call became imperative, following its findings about the circumstances that led to the killing of 43 rice farmers in the state.
The group also tasked the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to rise up to the task of preventing illegal influx of persons and contraband goods into the country.
According to Mr Danladi, unless this is done, the gains made by the troops fighting the insurgency, banditry and other forms of crimes might not be sustained.
Mr Danladi explained that his group was deeply saddened by the avoidable development which has elicited a lot of reactions with many calling for the heads of security chiefs but sued for caution so as not to derail from the gains achieved so far in the fight against insurgency.
“Few days ago, Nigeria was saddened with news of the gruesome murder of 43 rice farm labourers in Borno State.
“While every well-meaning Nigerian condemned the attack and called for swift action on the part of the security forces, we from civil society are unanimous in calling for synergy and intelligence sharing between security agencies and individuals who have the interest of the nation at heart.
“We are optimistic that the Army is on track in doing everything in its power to put a stop to the killings. However, they can’t do this alone as the terrorists live and move among the people.
“Individuals who have valuable information about their hideouts and operational schedules should come out and assist the Army,” the group spokesperson pleaded.
“Our scrupulous findings revealed that the terrorists lived in the attacked community but members were intimidated who failed to share information with the Army.
“But when the Army acted on the intelligence it gathered and raided the hideout of the insurgents neutralising 2 and taking away 5 insurgents, the terrorists regrouped and returned to stage the horrendous act apparently with the conviction that the community gave them away.
“A calculated attack such as the one we witnessed recently can’t be done without inside help. There are certainly informants within the communities where Boko Haram operates who tell the insurgents about troop movements and redeployments,” the group added.
“Community leaders must therefore, rise up and make concerted efforts in assisting the Army with useful information about their community members.
“This can only be possible if community leaders carry out due diligence on all members of their community, the nature of their jobs and the friends they keep. Without this, it’ll be impossible to track the movement of strangers and their activities.
“Security is everybody’s business. If individuals are unwilling to disclose the identies of scrupulous elements in their midst, the Army would be handicapped to safeguard lives and property” the statement added.
“Similarly, other security agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration service must ensure that our borders are secured and safe from infiltration of unregistered foreigners and mischievous elements whose stock in trade is violence and bloodshed.
“The Nigerian Customs should also as a matter of urgency, ensure that contrabands especially weapons and ammunition do not carelessly cross our borders without requisite security approvals.
“If the society continues to harbour ‘Judases’ and other elements sympathetic to the insurgents, the war against terror cannot be won even with the best troops in the world.
“Similarly, if sister security agencies continue to shy away from their duties and expect the Army to do everything then, the end of the reign of terror might take very long to come.”