By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – In its bid to provide adequate security for farmers, investors and improve agricultural investment in the country, the Federal government says it will soon commence training of Agro-rangers in Katsina state.
The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau disclosed this during a visit to Governor Aminu Bello Masari in Katsina and while on inspection of ongoing federal government projects – the Civil Defence Academy, to house the agro-rangers and also the Nigerian Prison Service new site in the state.
Danbazau said the government considers agricultural investment as strategic asset hence the need to form the agro-rangers saddled with the responsibility to protect agricultural investments for individuals, organization and institutions against kidnapping, cattle rustling and farmers, herders clashes currently affecting the farming and agricultural investment in the country.
According to him, “we are here to carry out inspection of two ongoing projects – first, Prison transformation, that has to do with our effort towards rehabilitation and reformation of Nigerian Prison Service. We have been making efforts to carry out complete and wholistic reforms that will do away with prison overcrowding and also upgrade the facilities in order to meet the minimum United Nations standards of the treatment and rehabilitation of inmates in our prisons.
“The intention is at the end of it to be able to have space for 2,500 inmates. But so far, we have been able to complete space for about 500 inmates. So we want to see the progress and also with the possibility of relieving the old prison so that some of the prisoners can be transferred to the site we have completed.
“The second is that we have the Civil Defence Academy which we have decided to locate here in Katsina. We are using the academy to train the new outfit called Agro-Rangers.
“We formed the outfit out of Civil Defence because the statutory responsibility of Civil defence is to protect strategic assets and critical infrastructure. And we considered Agricultural investment as strategic assets of this country. And nobody would not want to invest his wealth where there is no security. So with our experience of kidnapping with herders, farmers conflicts etc, we thought we must have this outfit so that we do not overstretched the Nigerian police and military. So this outfit will be responsible for protecting agricultural assets for individuals, organization and institutions. And we have decided that this place, Katsina, is the best place for training of the Agro-rangers which we hope to commence very soon,” Danbazau said.
Responding, Governor Aminu Bello Masari described the two projects as a welcome development and apt.
“The Agro-Rangers is apt. You know that the cattle rustlers have been going round the state carrying out their nefarious activities. But I am sure with this, specialized people that are going to be trained, it will free the police from these other activities and will be good for this nation.
“It will also be an assurance for all those that want to invest particularly in Agriculture to do it because security have now been enhanced.
“We thank the Federal government for all these efforts and we want you to extend our appreciation to Mr. President for these very important projects.
“Also the reform for the prison is long awaited because the old one was constructed over 70 years ago.
“The prison should not be a place of punishment but a place of reform,” Governor Masari said.
The Minister later proceeded to the ongoing new site of Nigeria prison service along jibia road where he inspected a complete two block of two storey buildings to house 300 inmates out of the 2,500 and also the Civil Defence Academy along Batsari road, for training of the Agro-Rangers.