By Henry Umoru & Nasir Muhammad
Gusau—The Theatre Command of Operation Hadarin Daji, Major-General Jide Ogunlade, has said that terrorists and jihadists have infiltrated bandits operating in Zamfara State.
Ogunlade, who disclosed this at a press briefing at the command headquarters in Gusau, yesterday, said: “Jihadists and terrorists have now infiltrated the ranks of bandits that are operating in the bushes of Zamfara.
“Banditry is now heading towards terrorism and they are identifiable through their headgear, which carries ‘Jihad’ inscription.
“Since the criminals are changing tactics, we are also changing ours and if they increase in numbers, we will most likely advise the Federal Government to declare them as terrorists.
“Our operatives are now in high morale and thanks to the Presidency and the nation’s service chiefs for establishing and adequately supporting Operation Hadarin Daji.
“l want to assure Nigerians that all officers and men under the operation carry out their responsibilities according to the rules of engagement, especially in ensuring that collateral damage is reduced to zero.
“We have opened up a communications centre that will offer 24-hour service for our callers to give credible information that will help in arresting any security breach.
“We are hoping that the telephone service providers as partners are expected to allow callers make distress calls toll free so that the information can continue to flow.”
Achievements of the operation
Ogunlade said between May 10, this year when the operation was established and now, the operation had neutralised 20 bandits’ operations, rescued 49 kidnap victims, arrested 15 others along with their collaborators, recovered and returned 2,164 rustled cattle to the owners, as well as recovered 2,437 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and two locally-made pistols.
The commander said other recoveries include two pump action rifles, 11 AK-47 rifles and 14 local dane guns.
He appealed to members of the public, especially rural dwellers, to always give credible information to the command and assured that callers’ identity would be confidential.
Senate backs IGP on separate budget for state police commands
Meanwhile, the Senate,yesterday, assured the police that it would work towards the realisation of the promised separate budget for state police commands for efficient service delivery.
According to the Senate, the idea of having a separate budgetary provisions for state police commands will further help nip in the bud security challenges in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja when he played host to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammad Adamu, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the police would decentralise its budget, so state commands will have their appropriations as proposed by the Inspector- General of Police.
Against this backdrop, he reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to give adequate funding support required by Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to enable its officers and men perform optimally.
According to Lawan, IGP Adamu, aside from the courtesy visit, was summoned by the Senate along side Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law EnforcementAgency, NDLEA, Muhammad Abdallah, and Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu, to throw light on the level of prosecution of the masterminds of the case of theNigerian student, Zainab Aliyu , who was held in Saudi Arabia on drug smuggling charges, but later released to join her family in Nigeria.
Separate funding for state police commands
Lawan, however, assured the IGP that when committees are constituted, the Senate Committee on Police Affairs wouldwork with the Police, especially on the issue of separate budgets for the state commands, which will remove them from having same account and budget with the headquarters.
“I can assure you that the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, when constituted, will work with your management on the separate funding for the state police commands.
“This is necessary, because we want you to spend your resources prudently and economically. We want you to always display efficiency on your duties and we will always give you support.
“Separate budgetary provisions for the state police commands, different from the Force Headquarters, is a good idea. The current style (of lumped budget) is not giving the deserved result.
“The concept of giving state commands their budgets and appropriation is a welcome development, we will support it. When our police affairs committee is constituted, they will work with you. This administration will work assiduously to give you the support that you require.”
Lawan, who noted that the budgetary allocation for the police and other security agencies was not enough, said if they must effectively carry out their responsibilities, they must be well funded.
He hailed IGP for the manner he had carried out his activities since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the IGP was the first of security agencies’ heads to pay him a courtesy visit as President of the Senate.
Earlier, the Inspector General of Police told the President of the Senate that plans had been concluded for the Nigeria Police to have a separate state command budget system that will not be part of the headquarters any longer as it was at the moment.