By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
A recent Security Summit held in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna state has identified complicity of security personnel and armed bandits, leading to escalation of armed robbing, kidnapping and killing of innocent lives in the area.
The revelation is contained in a communiqué issued Thursday, at the end of the “First Birnin-Gwari Security Summit Organized by Birnin- Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), in Collaboration With Birnin-Gwari Local Government Council and Birnin Gwari Emirate Council,” respectively.
The communiqué stated that “The Summit was organised to identify and extensively discuss the various reasons behind the escalation of the problem of armed robbery and kidnapping along Kaduna–Birnin Gwari and Birnin Gwari–Funtua highways and in some villages, as well as to suggest possible ways of curbing the problem; that complicity of some security personnel with the armed robbers operating in the area is responsible for escalation.
“The Summit further observed that the spate of highway armed robbery, abduction cases and cattle rustling continue unabated. That the bandits are currently hiding inside the surrounding forests of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna state as well as in Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, especially the Kamuku and Kuyambana forests, unchallenged,” it stated.
Participants also observed “That there are suspected informants within Birnin Gwari, feeding the bandits with essential information as regard to the unsuspecting targets. That, there is lack of sincere synergetic collaboration between the Police Force in Birnin Gwari and Members of the Vigilante Group; a development that hinders effective clampdown on the bandits.
The communiqué, signed by Chairman and Secretary of Benue, Murtala Abdullahi and Umar Ibrahim, respectively, revealed that “While the communities affected are accused of concealing intelligence reports against the bandits due to fear, the vigilante group decried the wanton witch-hunt on their lives by some complicit security personnel; a development that discourages the vigilante group from carrying out its duties freely.
The communiqué also stated, thus: “That, moral decadence in the society, which manifests in adultery and fornication, homosexuality and other social vices are believed to have triggered the negative consequences felt by the entire society, including incessant cases of insecurity.
It further stated, “That, the Vigilante Group decried lack of support and protection by the governments and affected communities showed the strong need for an immunity clause.
“The Summit had in attendance of 150 relevant stakeholders drawn from political leaders, traditional rulers, security agencies, NURTW, government officials, religious leaders, and other non-governmental organizations,” it added.
Declaring the Summit open, chairman of the occasion, the Amir of Birnin Gwari, Malam Zubair Jibril Maigwari II, commended the present government of Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna state for showing more concern on the insecurity affecting the local government area, especially cases of daily highway armed robbery.
He however, called for more concerted military operations in all the surrounding forests’ zones of the town, as the spate of kidnappings and cases of armed robbery are still going on unabated, and the perpetrators are hiding in those forests unchallenged.
The speakers, among others, include the chief conservator of Kamuku National Park Birnin Gwari, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), the chairman Vigilante Group Birnin Gwari, the Officer Forest Conservation, the chairman NURTW Kaduna state, the past chairmen and sole administrators of Birnin Gwari local government area, the current sole administrator Birnin Gwari local government and Head of Service Kaduna State.
“The menace of insecurity bedevilling the entire local government was discussed by the speakers, based on the theme of the Summit, “Prospects of Government and Community Cooperation in Addressing the Security Challenges in Birnin Gwari local government.”
The Summit observed and appreciated the efforts being made by the Kaduna state government, under the leadership of Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, to curb the insecurity issues affecting Birnin Gwari as evident in various efforts and interventions.
It particularly embraced, wholeheartedly, the gracious offer made by the Kaduna state government for greater community’s involvement in the maintenance of security of our communities, recognised and appreciated the efforts and contributions being made by the Emir of Birnin Gwari, Malam Zubair Jibril Mai Gwari II, for his tireless efforts towards bringing an end to this menace.
Summit recognised all efforts being rendered by individuals like the Kaduna state Head of Service, the SSG to the Kaduna State Government, Birnin Gwari Local Government Sole Administrator, all elected and non-elected personalities whom have showed great concerns about the plight of our community and whom have contributed and sacrificed a lot for our safety.
The Summit further observed “That, the spate of highway armed robbery, abduction cases and cattle rustling continue unabated, adding that bandits are currently hiding inside the surrounding forests of Birnin Gwari in Kaduna state as well as in Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, especially the Kamuku and Kuyambana forests, unchallenged.
Summit recommends that the entire sons and daughters of Birnin Gwari extraction should come together and unite themselves against the menace. “The Nigerian Army should deploy more troops that will dislodge the suspected armed bandits in Kamuku forests, Kuyambana forests and other major hideouts of the armed bandits.
“Aerial surveillance should be strengthened around the suspected hideouts of the armed bandits and appropriate measures be taken. The Nigerian Army should actualise its plan to establish ‘Battalion 96’ in Birnin Gwari, as this will go a long way in curtailing the security challenges.
“Governments should support Community Policing in Birnin Gwari and encourage the affected communities to provide intelligence report on the suspected movement around their areas,” adding that in so doing, the communities would be ensured of their safety to avoid possible reprisals by the reported bandits.
“The police deployed to Birnin Gwari should work synergistically with the Vigilante Group in confronting security challenges. In so doing, there should be sincere and upright commitments from each side.
“The Vigilante Group should be supported with adequate logistics, be protected and be granted immunity clause by the Kaduna state government, the affected communities and other stakeholders.
“Religious leaders should preach more on the dangers of social vices like adultery and fornication as well as homosexuality. People should be preached to frown at such vices and desist from them, so as to re-establish a society that runs on the Taqwah of Allah.
“The community leaders should improve on the punitive measures against the perpetrators of evils and societal vices with a view to refining the entire society.”
The Summit was held on 9th December, 2017, at Science Secondary School in the LG.