Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has proposed the clearance and relocation of Katari, Rijana and Akilibu communities along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, saying that they harbour criminals and informants.
Speaking after receiving the first quarter 2022 security report which said 360 persons were killed and 1,389 others kidnapped in the state between January and March 2022, the governor said Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru terrorists have abandoned Sambisa forests in the Northeast for Kaduna forests where they were recruiting young citizens into terrorism, having claimed that “Kaduna forests are better than Sambisa”.
El-Rufai, who expressed worry about the influx of terrorists into the state, said the problem of insecurity has shifted from the Northeast to the Northwest, adding that the situation in the Northwest is far more serious and potentially more dangerous than that the Northeast.
He decried what he described as emergence of Boko Haram terrorists’ enclave as well as activities of Ansaru terrorists group, particularly in Birnin Gwari and Chikun local government areas of the state.
“This presentation has brought out new emerging concerns. The first great concern is the emergence of Boko Haram terrorists enclave as well as activities of Ansaru particularly in Birnin Gwari and Chikun Local Government. The terrorists were making comments like the forests in Kaduna are even better than Sambisa, so, they should all relocate here. I think this is an area we should all be concerned about.
“The problem of insecurity now has moved from the Northeast to the Northwest. What is happening in Northwest is far more serious and potentially more dangerous than we have ever had in the Northeast and we will like the military and other security agencies to take notice of this before it gets out of control.
“The second is the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (EIDs) and mines in the state. We have been lucky thanks to the Police we have been able to defuse most of them without causing major loss of lives. This is still a major concern, because this shows very clearly the movement from banditry to terrorism with expertise in making explosive devices. Again this is because Boko Haram and Ansaru elements have moved into the state.
“I noticed the continuous mention of Rijana, Katari and Akilibu axis in all these crimes, particularly as regards the safety or lack of it of Kaduna-Abuja road. We have been exploring what to do about these three communities, whether to relocate them to near Kagarko, whether to clear the three communities. I will like the security council to deliberate on it and look at the options.
“It is very clear that, there are higher levels of informants and criminals in these locations, because why is it that, anytime there is attack or any form of kidnapping on the road, it happens around these three axes and nothing ever happens on the Kagarko axis. There is something wrong with the Rijana, Katari axis and government should not refuse to do anything. We have to look at the options including the clearance of the settlements completely and relocation of the people to where other more honest people can watch them.
“The security agencies are overstretched, we need to ramp up our recruitment of our vigilance service volunteers, I think the 1,000 we trained have been very useful in assisting the Army, the Police and other security agencies and perhaps this is the time to get another 1,000 and send them to Police College for training. We have already bought weapons that are with the Commissioner of Police but we need more men and women.
“I will like to see resumption of flights at the Kaduna International Airport. We are grateful to the Defence Headquarters for enabling the establishment of the NDA Demonstration Battalion. I will like to appeal to the Air Force whose area of responsibility includes the Kaduna Airport to also have some kind of permanent deployment at the Airport to secure it so that flight can resume,” he said.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, while presenting the security report before Governor el-rufai, combined security chiefs, as well as traditional rulers, said 360 persons were killed by terrorists in the first quarter of 2022 in the state, he said 1,389 persons were kidnapped while 3,251 cattle were rustled during the period.
He also disclosed that 258 persons were injured in the first quarter, adding that 10 rape cases were recorded during the period under review. “The interaction between bandits and terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru has been established, as evidenced by the deadly attack on the Abuja-Kaduna AK9 train on 28th March 2022”.