Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has urged security agencies to engage in interagency synergy and collaboration to address the spate of insecurity in Nigeria, if the country is to avoid a looming food crisis.
Speaking while declaring open the 2021 quarterly meeting of the Directors of the State Commands of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) in the Northwest on Thursday in Kaduna, el-Rufai said, if Nigeria was to avoid food crisis, finding immediate and enduring solution to the spate of kidnapping, banditry, killings, herders-farmers clashes is key, to enable farmers return to their farms in the advent of the rains.
According to the governor, there is immense security challenges across the Northwest states, which have led to devastation of rural economy, displacement of farmers from their communities, loss of lives and properties and travel challenge.
“Addressing this grave problem and restoring order require that security managers and intelligence agencies constantly share information and experiences. These criminals operate across state lines. Therefore, tackling them requires cooperation and collaboration by the various states. Any plan that seeks to address the problem only in one state will at best yield a temporary respite as the criminals retreat to safe havens.
“This is an urgent priority, in the face of the looming food crisis that we face if our farmers do not go to the farms. The rains are here, but farmers in various communities are unable to go to their farms, that is when they are lucky not to have fled their remote villages under pressure and attacks from the criminals. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“The security agencies need to strengthen intelligence gathering, to establish not just the identities, plans and locations of these criminals, but to actively disrupt their capacity to organise and mount attacks on our citizens. It is also very important to ensure that prompt and coordinated action becomes the default response of the Armed Forces and the Police to the profusion of actionable intelligence that is already available from the DSS,” he said.
Speaking on how the criminals gained this much ground, el-Rufai said, “the governors of the Northwest states and Niger state as far back as 2015 came together to fund simultaneous operations by the federal military and security agencies across the largely ungoverned Kamuku-Kuyambana forest swathes that straddle about seven of our states up to Dajin Rugu in Katsina state.
“These operations disrupted the cattle rustling gangs but were unfortunately not sustained as a continuous exercise to dominate these spaces and assert within them the authority of the Nigerian state. That the criminal gangs have become more daring and dangerous since recovering from their near defeat in 2015 is obvious across the country.
“As the lead agency for domestic intelligence and counterintelligence, the Department of State Services has a vital role to play in providing the reliable information needed by the Police and Armed Forces and other security agencies for the total defeat of these dangerous insurgents,” el-Rufai said.
The Kaduna state Director of State Service, Alhaji Idris Koya said the quarterly “meeting was originated by the Director General, State Service, Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi to enable the State Directors regularly come together and brainstorm on the changing spate of insecurity bedeviling the Northwest, exchange ideas and proffer possible solutions that would aid in containing contemporary threats, effectively efficiently and with minimum cost.
“The region is currently confronted by security threats of kidnapping, armed banditry, insurgency, Farmers/herders conflicts, arms trafficking and several other contemporary security issues that require concerted effort to address, including the pivotal input of the respective state governments.
“The current efforts by the state government to establish a drone centre for intelligence gathering and support of other security operations is highly commendable and it is our hope that it will come into service soon as it will be a game changer in tackling security challenges not only in Kaduna state but the Northwest and even Northcentral zones.”
The Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said criminals, bandits and terrorists are collaborating to a devastating effect on the people of the state, noting that if there had been more robust collaboration among the security agencies, several serious attacks would have been prevented.