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Police, Military’s Attitude To Banditry Frustrating – Zamfara Gov

Dauda Lawal said the uninspiring attitude of the police and the military was responsible for the creation of the state security outfit, Community Protection Guards.


FILES: Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday, June 11, 2024

 

 

Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State has lamented the laidback attitude of the police and the military in combating the menace of banditry plaguing the North-West state.

He said the uninspiring attitude of Federal Government-controlled security agencies was responsible for the creation of the state security outfit, Community Protection Guards in January. 

“We, as governors, don’t have control over the military, we don’t have control over the police as well as the civil defence. In most cases, we get frustrated,” the governor said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.

“When you need these people, they are nowhere to be found and the best thing to do is to set up that kind of security outfit.”

 

‘No Political Will’

He said there are a lot of political undertones to the security issues in the state.

“Sometimes, when you’re really helpless. When you need them (security agents), they are not there. Even when they are there, they are given certain instructions on what to do and not what to do,” he said.

The governor said the marauding bandits whose kidnapping-for-ransom trade is booming in the state can be strangulated in two weeks with the right political will.

“In two weeks, we can take care of the situation but the political will are not there,” he said.

“We know who they (bandits) are. We know we they live. It’s just that there is no political will.”

Rules Out Negotiations With Bandits

Lawal alleged that some of his political foes are negotiating with bandits without his knowledge.

“At a point, I had to really come and say it clearly because when we are trying to take care of the situation, somebody somewhere is negotiating with the bandits without my knowledge,” he lamented, adding that the series of negotiation with bandits by previous administrations did not yield any positive results and there was no basis to continue with such venture which, he said, enrich the vicious marauders.

When asked whether he knows the identity of those negotiating with bandits, he said, “To some extend, we do.”

The governor said he has met with all the service chiefs and cried for help to save the state but the political will has been missing in the fight against bandits.

‘Hub Of Banditry’

The governor said, “Zamfara State has become the hub of banditry in Nigeria. If you are able to take care of Zamfara today, you have solve more than 90% issues in northern Nigeria as a whole.”

Lawal said he has met with President Bola Tinubu to complain about the saboteurs to the security challenges in the state. He said the President has assured him that something would be done to address the challenges.

The governor also said though artisanal and illegal mining has been banned in the state by both the federal and state governments, the menacing trade has continued unabated.

He said from all indices of development, Zamfara has been at the bottom of development hence his declaration of state of emergency in education, clearance of school fees, building of schools, among others.

The governor said illegal mining was not much of a headache but banditry and kidnapping in virtually all the 14 local governments in the state.

He some people want to make the state ungovernable for him but he was not deterred.

State Police Talks Stalled

Talks about state police have been gaining momentum in the last few months with some governors and regional socio-political groups like Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo saying it would curb menacing trend of kidnapping, banditry and sundry crimes.

Already, there are state-owned security outfits in about 23 states like the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno State, the Amotekun Corps in the South-West geopolitical zone, Ebube Agu in the South-East, Benue Guards in the North Central State, Community Protection Guards in Zamfara, Community Watch Corps in Katsina, the Neighbourhood Watch in Plateau, state-backed vigilante outfits in Niger and Bauchi, amongst others.

However, these outfits have been handicapped in their operations due to a number of factors including lack of license to bear assault rifles and superior weapons to confront deadly insurgents and criminals but governors are upbeat that with a constitutional backing, these outfits will live up to their full potential.

To this end, President Tinubu and governors of the 36 states mid-February, agreed on state police as a method to curb the escalating security challenges in the country.

About a month later, 16 governors submitted their reports to the National Economic Council (NEC), expressing their support for the creation of state police and the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow for same. The decision of the remaining 20 governors are still being expected.