THE Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has expressed sadness over the level of insecurity in the country, especially the North
Abubakar said he was worried that bandits were fast overrunning the North with AK-47 riffles openly and unchecked.
He spoke on Thursday at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
But the Defence Headquarters in Abuja said the end to banditry and insurgency was near.
Also on Thursday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, reiterated that community policing would go a long way in curbing crimes in the country.
The Sultan lamented at the NIREC meeting with the theme: “Questioning for peace in the challenges of insecurity and COVID-19,” that the North had become the worst place to live in Nigeria because of ”completely” collapsed security system.
He said bandits now move from house-to-house, village-to-village, and market- to-market with AK 47 riffles openly, purchasing food stuff and other items unchallenged.
His words: “Security situation in Northern Nigeria has assumed a worrisome situation. Unfortunately no strong media platform could report the story to the world. A few weeks ago, over 76 persons were killed in a community in Sokoto State in a day.
“I was there alongside the governor (Aminu Tambuwal) to commiserate with the affected community. Unfortunately, you don’t hear these stories in the media because it’s in the North. We have accepted the fact that the North does not have strong media to report the atrocities of these bandits.
”People think the North is safe, but that assumption is not true. In fact, it’s the worst place to be in this country. Bandits go around in the villages, households and markets with their AK 47 and nobody is changing them. They stop at the market, buy things, pay and collect change, with their weapons openly displayed. These are facts I know because I am at the centre of it.
”I am not only a traditional ruler, I am also a religious leader. So, I am in a better place to tell the story. I can speak for the North in this regard because I am fully aware of the security challenges there.
“We have to sincerely and seriously find solutions to the problem, otherwise, we will find ourselves soon, in a situation where we would lose sleep because of insecurity.”
Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, also lamented that Nigeria was still faced with insecurity despite government’s efforts.
”Today, despite all efforts, including the deployment of enormous resources, our country still faces a measure of insecurity which is impacting negatively on our economy, social life, education of children and young persons, investment and remains a threat to lives and livelihood”, he said.
Mustapha urged NIREC to use its traditional and religious capacities to further escalate it’s outreach to all Nigerians especially, the youth at the grass roots.
On COVlD-19, the SGF said “since the beginning of 2020, humanity has been under the siege of the COVID-19 pandemic which has warranted the deployment of drastic measures including lockdowns, closure of schools, international airspace, places of Worship, businesses, government offices.”.
The Defence Headquarters had earlier said that with the stepping up of its kinetic and non-kinetic operations, the days of terrorists and bandits in the country were numbered.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Eneche, stated this during his weekly briefing on military operations across the country.
Eneche said with the ongoing operations, the days of bandits and terrorists were numbered as the various operations against them are “progressing satisfactorily”.
Although he gave no timeline for the defeat of the insurgents, the coordinator assured that “it is no longer a hopeless situation.”
He disclosed that troops have sustained the onslaught against criminal elements in their various areas of. operation.
According to him, in Katsina State, the epicentre of the banditry, operatives of the Department of State Services(DSS), arrested a couple at Abukur village conveying A large cache of ammunition to Katsina metropolis.
The arms, according to him, comprised 14 magazines, 61 rounds of 9.6mm caliber ammunition and 399 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition.
He gave the names of the couple as Usman Shehu and Aisha Abubakar
He informed that in the North West zone, “troops of Operation Hadarin Daji and other subsidiary operations sustained various aggressive operations with tremendous successes.
“The gallant troops within the period carried out a series of raids, aerial, ambushes, clearance operations and confidence-building patrols.’’
In the North-East , Eneche stated that, “in continuation of our efforts in the fight against terrorism in the North-East zone, several land and air operations were conducted by the Armed Forces and other security agencies with significant results.
”During the period, troops recorded laudable successes in both land and air operations. Between November 19 and 25,, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole maintained their usual aggressive and responsive postures throughout the zone”
The IG told reporters after briefing Senators on the security situation in the country, that he believes that community policing would help in curbing crimes.
He said: “ I met today (yesterday) and briefed them (Senators) on the concept of community policing; if you can remember, last year, we sensitised the whole country on the need to adopt community policing.
”The concept is to give policing back to the community, let the community take the initiative in identifying the problems that are there, that can lead to the committing of a crime and then we work with the community to solve the crime.
“We believe that everybody comes from a community and in a community you know who and who is there, so taking policing back to the community will help in reducing crime to the barest minimum.
“I have explained the concept of community policing to the senate which involves a partnership with the communities and there are various communities.
”You can have traditional institutions as a community, you can have National Union of Road Transport Workers as a community, you can have the media as a community, and various forms of communities that we need a partner.”
According to Adamu, partnership with the communities will involve data gathering on crimes and analysing them.
Adamu said: “When we talk about partnership, we are talking about problem-solving; we need to solve problems that evolve in the community.”
On the rising cases of crimes in the country, Adamu pointed out that when the rate rises, the police re-strategises to deal with the issues head on.