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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Show political will to fight banditry, group tells northwest governors

A group, the Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development, said governors in the Northwest need the political will to fight banditry and other vices behind insecurity in the zone.

The Executive Director of the group, Dr. Sani Shinkafi, made this known in statement in Abuja.

“The problems in the zone require political will and pragmatic actions, not empty rhetoric as obtainable in the past 12 years, which has not changed the narrative.

”The governors should accelerate the development of the zone through education, wealth creation, and social amenities that will impact the lives of the people,” Shinkafi said.

He said that organising peace and security summits and conferences within and outside Nigeria were not the solution to the insecurity confronting the zone, but political will and pragmatic actions.

Shinkafi said it was on record that the geopolitical zone had the largest land mass and 30 per cent of the country total population.

He added that from the First Republic North West zone has produced prominent citizens who have served in various capacities in the federal government, yet the region was grossly undeveloped and lags behind in education.

“The zone has the largest number of out of school children and the highest number of Almajiris, poorly equipped schools, hospitals, bad roads etc. The zone is neglected by past and present leaders.

“Agriculture which is the mainstream of the region is neglected in spite of abundant, fruitful land mass.

“There is no political will to engage in large scale farming. Certainly, there is no commitment from state governors in the region to invest in commercial farming and livestock development.

“The region has abundant solid minerals including gold, copper, rhodium, gem stones, kaolin, berates and lithium.

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“Sadly, there is no political will to develop these mineral resources since the discovery of oil,” he said.

Shinkafi said that the recent North West summit on security of life and livelihoods was a welcome development if governors would be spurred to implement people-oriented projects, ensure the security and welfare of the people for rapid development of the zone.

He listed the remote causes of the insecurity in the region to include corruption, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, poor governance, weak judicial system, weak security apparatus;

Porous borders, drug abuse, weak traditional institutions, influx of illegal Fulani aliens through land borders and proliferation of small and lighter arms and ammunition by unauthorised persons.

He said some leaders in the zone failed to invest in education, in building primary and secondary schools, adult education and Almajiri schools, leading to high rate of illiteracy in the region.

He said that if governors of the region were committed in food production by providing tractors, harvesters, sprayers, insecticides, pesticides and farmers credit schemes, the region would feed the nation and export some agricultural produce.

He advised various states government in the region to apply kenetic and non kenetic approaches the fight against insecurity in the region.

“In kenetic approach the military should be deployed to restore peace and security in the region.

“More military operatives should be deployed, well equipped and motivated, community policing should be adopted by equipping state-owned security outfits established by the Act of the State Houses of Assembly with clearly defined duties to support conventional security agencies in the fight against insecurity.

“State governors in the zone should proffer home-grown solutions involving traditional rulers, religious leaders, leaders of Fulani association and leaders of farmers association to engage in peace dialogue with bandits who are willing to lay down their arms unconditionally and be reintegrated into the society.

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“Social amenities should be provided in most of the Fulani settlements including ranches, grazing reserves, cattle routes, farm settlement, veterinary clinics, portable water, access roads, schools and cattle breeding loans,” he said.

Shinkafi also advised the governors in the region to be proactive and create jobs for the youth to reduce unemployment and poverty.

“Zamfara, Kaduna and Funtua textile industries should be revived along with other small and medium industries. Agriculture and solid minerals in the region should be developed to create jobs.

“There should be death penalty for armed banditry and related offences duly passed by State Houses of Assembly in the region.

”The judiciary should be overhauled for expeditious prosecution of suspects,” he said.

Shinkafi also advised governors to constitute peace and security trust funds to support security operations in various states including Niger State in North Central which shares border with Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina and Kaduna States.

“The security trust funds should be used to purchase patrol vehicles, pay security allowances, fuel and maintain vehicles, procure communication gadgets etc.”

He called for total overhaul of security agents and operations in the borders with the use of modern security equipment

He said that with the proactive measures peace and security would be restored in the North West geopolitical zone.(NAN)

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