Security agencies have been placed on red alert following the influx of displaced people in the Boko Haram attacks on Geidam, Yobe state, to Bauchi state.
This emerged Monday at a meeting Governor Bala Mohammed held with heads of security agencies and traditional rulers at Government House Bauchi. Briefing journalists shortly after the security meeting, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Sabi’u Baba said those displaced in the Geidam attacks were relocating to Gamawa, Dambam, Zaki and Darazo local government areas of Bauchi state.
“Bauchi state is sharing border with Yobe state in four local governments of Zaki, Dambam, Darazo and Gamawa. Now the implication of what has happened in Geidam is there is a lot of influx of people moving into Bauchi state from Yobe. Of course that will put a lot of stretch on our facilities and resources and considering outcome of Boko Haram activity, the security implication there is also very high. The meeting today was to examine the implication of that, identify the security threats and plan on how to contain them from the Bauchi side.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, invited guests, the government has held this meeting with the commissioner of police, director SSS, and the commander civil defence, the brigade commander and the head of Air Force unit in Bauchi. They have all assured us to give maximum cooperation in our attempt to have a joint patrol of the areas concerned. Of course, security is a responsibility of all of us, we do not expect that the security agencies alone will tackle this problem.
“So, all hands will be on deck including our traditional institutions, our religious groups. It will be expected that we will continue to profile whoever is coming to Bauchi state. I can tell you that some people come in with weapons. And it’s the profiling that will help us to stem that kind of problem. Apart from that, any criminal activity that is noticed as people try to settle among us should be promptly reported to the security agencies. In brief, that is what council discussed. And of course details of our strategy are not meant for public consumption.”
Answering reporters’ questions, the SSG said: “Well let me address the issues that have been raised properly. When we are talking about threats in Gamawa local government, already we have noticed attempt to dismantle MTN facilities and such things are usually done by criminal elements in an attempt to make security impossible in that area so that they may move in and perpetrate their activities.
“That’s one major threat that has been identified. But luckily, they have been apprehended and the equipment have been recovered. So our eyes are open to identify these kinds of challenges. On the issue of bad elements that are already settled within our communities, we are sensitising the public to report anybody that they are not comfortable with.”
Meanwhile, 17 persons have been killed and 30 others injured following fresh attacks on some communities in Gwer West local government area of Benue state by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
Blueprint learnt that the gunmen had Sunday evening laid ambush on Naka, Nagi Agagbe road killing two people on motorcycle, while injuring four others.
It was further learnt that the hoodlums in the early hours of Monday, also attacked and killed 15 persons at Tse Angbeghe Udam Aondoana and Agbanu Seghev/Ukuse in Gwer West local government area of the state.
A survivor of the attack, Mrs. Felicia Anor, said the attackers came through Akpachi in Otukpo local government area to launch the attack on Tse Angbeghe, near Aondoana at about 5.am killing the 15 people and injuring 26 others.
According to her, the suspected herders also torched many houses and destroyed other goods during the offensive.
It was gathered that the attack sparked protest by the local government chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Naka town.
In his speech, leader of the protesters, Pastor Sule Sunday, expressed their grievances on the persisted attack on the locals in the area without provocation
He called on the federal government to intervene by arresting those behind the dastardly act.
The pastor also challenged security operatives to go after the attackers to disclaim the speculations that they had compromised in the handling of the situation.
Also, an indigene of the local government and a journalist, Francis Ugbede, claimed the herders had already taken over seven council wards in the local government namely; Sengev, Gaagev/Tongev, Saghev/Ukusu, Tough Ateer/Ijaha, Gaambe Ushin, Mbachohon, and Avihijme.
He called on security agencies in the area to step up patrol in the local communities.
Following renewed attacks on some communities in the area, the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has increased as many have deserted their homes.
When contacted, spokesman of the state police command, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene confirmed the attack but said she was yet to receive details.
She said: “I have spoken with the DPO in the area and he said there was attack in the area, but I am yet to get the details.”
‘Time to collaborate with FG’
Following the series of attacks on Benue communities therefore, a pressure group-Tiv Youth Advancement Vanguard (TYAV) has called on Governor Samuel Ortom to collaborate with the federal government to find lasting solution to the problem of insecurity in the state.
The group also sought a review of the state’s anti-grazing law which it claimed livestock guards exploited to short-change herders after paying ransom for their seized cattle.
Addressing journalists Monday in Abuja, president of the group, Mr Tyohemba Denen, maintained that while the killings and other crimes going on in the state were regrettable, it was imperative the state and federal governments collaborate in proffering solution rather than playing politics with human lives.
“Insecurity in Benue state is not one dimensional, the insecurity in Sankera, Konshisha and other places that have nothing to do with Fulani. The fact that Gov is always projecting the Fulani issue and neglecting the insecurity in these other places shows that he is more interested in the political interests than dealing with the situation as it is.
“There have been killings going on in Sankera comprising of three local government areas of Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala leading to loss countless number of lives without the governor mentioning it. Recently, militia group abducted, killed and burnt twelve soldiers who were on peace keeping in the troubled boundaries of Konshisha and Oju LGAs. This communal clash led to the death and destruction of lots of property without the governor taking any proactive step.
“In Tyo-Mu where the governor claimed to have been ambushed by herdsmen, there has been protracted land dispute between the Hyarev and Kparev settlers in the area for decades.
“The assassination of the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Special Security, Hon. Denen Igbana, Professor Adyourough and several other cases of assassination and cult related killings call for serious thought, decisive action and collaboration with the Federal authorities and security agencies to tame the rising wave of insecurity in the state.
“The situation does not warrant playing politics or propaganda but a deliberate and determined collaboration with the federal government and security agencies to nip the crisis in the bud,” the group noted.
Describing the diatribes between the governor and media aides to President Muhammadu Buhari as unfortunate, it said: “The governor must know that the security of lives and property is the responsibility of both the federal state, local and indeed all citizens. The solution to the problem of insecurity must be sought with dispatch. Whether it is communal clashes, herders’ crisis, cult related killings or assassination of citizens; this must be brought to a stop immediately.”
On the anti-grazing law, they said it “has not shown to be effective in stopping armed herdsmen but has rather aggravated the problem. It’s notable that the Livestock guards confiscate cows from the herders and fail to return all when the owners come to pay ransom and this has created more attacks.
“The Gov should review this law and take cues from states like Taraba and Ekiti which also have similar laws but have lesser problems. Let it not be as if the Livestock guards are used deliberately to create security situations in order to gain more pecuniary and political advantages.”
PDP suggests way out
And suggesting ways out of the current logjam, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the up-scaling of security personnel, deployment of technology and creation of state police to fight terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other security issues confronting Nigeria.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said this Monday at a world press conference in Abuja.
He claimed “government’s monopoly over legitimate coercive powers has been compromised and torpedoed, with criminal gangs let loose across our nation.”
The party called for “immediate up-scaling of the personnel strength of our men and women in uniform and make adequate provisions of kinetic instruments of war and law enforcement. Our armed forces should be adequately equipped and their welfare a top priority.”
He also sought “the establishment of a State Police: We call on all citizens to support the quest for state police as is the tradition in other federations. Mindful of the current plethora of vigilante in various parts of the country, which have not been enabled to carry out all the elements of effective policing, we call on the governors of the 36 states, the leadership and members of the National Assembly, the Speakers of the State Assemblies, relevant agencies of government, to occasion a summit for a one-stop shop regarding the creation, structure, and management of state police.
“In spite of the concerns over state police, it is doubtful that 36 state police services can be easily overwhelmed, as is the case now with the unitary police. Besides, any challenges can be addressed through legislative framework to make abuse extremely difficult, if not impossible.
“We also call for the deployment of technology in the fight against terror, banditry, and other crimes. The PDP demands that all culprits should be brought to book. The apparent failure of intelligence to track attacks by bandits and follow up on them is a clear failure of the intelligence community. The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited NIGCOMSAT established many years ago by a PDP administration, is designed for this purpose and others.
“We call for the creation of National Boarders Protection Force to secure our borders. This will include an integrated border protection system that will draw personnel and equipment from existing armed service and Immigration.”
On economy, Secondus claimed the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government had gone rudderless, saying “it is curious that the only economic management tool known by this government is just mind-boggling borrowing. This includes borrowing for recurrent expenditure as well as for consumption.”
Secondus further said “the incompetence and absence of a clear policy for the economy is fast leading Nigeria into the woods of insolvency, which was recently confirmed by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) confession that it would not be able to make remittances to Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of April.”
To rescue the economy therefore, the PDP said: “We hold that our government should stop borrowing. Our future generations are being mortgaged and railroaded into avoidable debt trap. APC should do away with their nepotism and hire experts that will help creatively navigate the nation through the dire economic challenges they have led the nation into.”
“Therefore, we call on the APC-led government to live up to the spirit and letters of our constitution to ensure that all sections of the country are equitably represented in all agencies and organs of government, including the armed forces.
“This will build loyalty and enhance security both in strategic and real terms. It will give every part of the country a sense of belonging and will be very helpful in intelligence gathering. As known world over, no victim of injustice is ever interested in peace. In this wise, we strongly subscribe to an all stakeholders Security and Solution Summit that will deescalate the current situation,” added the opposition.