El-Rufai To FG: Create Theatre Command To Confront Insurgency In Northwest
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has asked the Federal Government to establish a theatre command within the Northwest to tackle the insurgency that has sprung in the region.
Speaking on Tuesday at the presentation of the state’s 2021 security report compiled by the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, El-Rufai, expressed sadness at the escalation of violence in the state – especially within Zangon-Kataf.
The report, presented by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said that 1,192 people were killed while 3,348 others were kidnapped across the state in 2021, a development which the governor vehemently condemned.
While noting that as a sub-national, the state government has always used the limited tools available to it to address these dire times, El-Rufai urged the Federal Government to step in as a matter of urgency, by establishing a command within the northwestern region to tackle the menace.
“The Kaduna State government appeals to the Federal Government to create a Theatre Command similar to the situation in the Northeast to confront the insurgency that has clearly emerged in five states of the Northwest and Niger State with continuous and contiguous forest ranges.
“The creation of such a theatre command will enable a holistic approach to counter-insurgent operations across the six affected states and the enhanced coordination of the resources of the armed forces, the police, the SSS, our respective state vigilance services, hunters, and other local volunteers to fight the insurgents,” the governor explained.
He further stated that “the prerogatives of the state need to be asserted, not merely proclaimed. The people we put in uniform must never be placed in avoidable danger, outgunned, or outnumbered by non-state actors.
“It is when the terrorists are decimated that ‘soft’, non-kinetic peacebuilding will gain traction. While the security agencies keep trying their best, the peacemakers on the ground should not be discouraged. Peace is worth every effort, despite the setbacks encountered.
“We continue to emphasise that as a state government, we do not believe that there is any phenomenon like ‘repentant bandits’. Any person that makes a conscious decision to secure arms, challenges the authority of the Nigerian state, and threatens the lives and property of Nigerians does not deserve to live or be granted any concession by society.
“There are no immediate or remote causes to justify terrorist conduct. Those that hide behind these are either ethnic jingoists, religious apologists, or fail to recognise that no legitimate government can survive by tolerating terrorists or negotiating with those that menace law-abiding citizens.
“As we digest these sad statistics, we pray for the repose of the souls of those killed, pay tribute to the victims of various crimes, reiterate our solidarity with them, and reaffirm our resolve to continue to protect our people, and stop the criminals.”
El-Rufai sympathised with the communities affected by various attacks in the state, especially those within Zangon-Kataf, which the governor said appears to be rapidly spilling into the Chawai part of Kauru Local Council.
He stressed that this outbreak of violence is a serious challenge to the community-level peace process initiated by the Agwam of Zangon Kataf and community leaders in the area.
The governor further stated that while the security agencies keep trying their best, the peacemakers on the ground should not be discouraged, adding that peace is worth every effort despite the setbacks encountered.
Governor El-Rufai in asserting his position as regards the idea of “repentant bandits”, said he does not believe in such ideology.
He maintained that any person that makes a conscious decision to secure arms, challenges the authority of the Nigerian state, and threatens the lives and property of Nigerians does not deserve to live or be granted any concession by society.