Abdullahi Gana, the Commander General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, said the corps established agro-ranger squad to guarantee the safety of farmers and pastoralists in the country.
Mr Gana, who made this known at the inauguration of the agro-ranger squad in Maiduguri on Wednesday, disclosed that about 5, 000 trained agro-rangers would be deployed to about 2, 500 ranches across the country.
Represented by his assistant, Augustine Obiekwe, the NSCDS boss explained that the corps introduced agro-ranger squad sequel to requests by the former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, to ensure the protection of ranches and farmlands.
The commander added that the agro-rangers were exposed to specialized combat; intelligence gathering, first aid, and conflict resolution skills during their training at the Peace and Conflict Management College, Katsina.
Mr Gana revealed that 75 agro-rangers were deployed to Borno under the first phase of the deployment, adding that the measure was imperative in view of the insurgents’ attacks on farmers and herdsmen.
“Special agro-ranger squad are being deployed to protect ranches and farmlands as well as provide intelligence on livestock and dams.
“The corps is geared to protect liberated communities in Borno, so that people could return home and cultivate their farmlands,” he said.
Also, Abdullahi Ibrahim, the Corps Commander in the state, said the agro-rangers would work alongside 120 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, hunters and vigilante in the Maiduguri environs.
Ibrahim added that the squad would be conducting patrol at Njimtilo; Moloi-Kura, Tamsu-Ngamdu, Masu, Shuwari-Karaye and Madu-Ajiri axis of the town.
He urged the agro-rangers to be guided by the rules of engagement governing their operations.
While commending Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno, over his support to the corps, Ibrahim called on organisations and wealthy individuals to support the squad to ensure its sustainability and success.
Mr Ibrahim also called for synergy between the agro-ranger squad and other security agencies to tackle insurgency, and protect farmers and communities.
In his remarks, Mr Zulum reiterated the commitments of the state government to protect lives and property in accordance with the provision of Section 14 (1b) of the constitution.
Mr Zulum said that his administration would adopt proactive measures to strengthen security institutions to enhance peace restoration in the state.
He also presented 10 patrol vehicles to the agro-ranger squad, and pledged to provide communication gadgets to the squad.
The governor further renewed his calls for the insurgents to surrender for de-radicalisation and reintegration into the society.