…Nigeria shouldn’t be reduced to land of blood, tears, misery – NLC
…Berates military hierarchy, insists on sacking of security chiefs
…Gunmen strike again in Niger, kill 3 soldiers, Vigilante
…Synergy between el-Rufa’i, CAN’ll bring peace in Kaduna — Sen Uba Sani
By Wole Mosadomi, Victor Ahiuma-Young, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Ibrahim Hassan
GOVERNOR Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State yesterday raised the alarm that bandits and kidnappers displaced from the North East and North West have relocated to Nasarawa because of the hilly and rocky terrain of the state.
The governor’s alarm came as Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, warned that Nigeria should not be reduced to a land of blood, tears and misery, following the dire security situation in the country.
Labour spoke as three soldiers and a vigilante on a rescue mission in Niger State were killed by gunmen suspected to be bandits terrorising states in the north.
This is even as the senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, said yesterday that the historic visit to Kaduna State by President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Reverend Samson Ayokunle, could bring an end to the bitterness among adherents of the two major religions, Christianity and Islam, in the state, especially Southern Kaduna.
The CAN leader had visited Governor Nasir el-Rufai at Government House, Kaduna, on Monday over the current crisis in Southern Kaduna which has claimed several lives.
Governor Sule, who raised the alarm of bandits’ infiltration into his state while briefing State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the bandits terrorizing the people were not from the state.
“Actually, we have some of the bandits that were dislodged from the North West and North East and they found some of these hilly places in Nasarawa. We have a lot of rocky places and they find some of those places comfortable.
‘’So, they move to those locations and as a result of that, we follow up to ensure that we track them,’’ the governor said.
Governor Sule commended President Buhari for supporting the state in addressing the security challenges by approving the establishment of Mobile Police training college and the military super camp.
He said: “I came to brief the President on two areas; the area of security in our state and then the first post-COVID 19 election that we just had in Nasarawa State. We looked at the issue that you must have been hearing about our security challenges of kidnappings and there are some killings that have taken place, where one of the traditional rulers was recently killed.
“I had to express great appreciation to the President, for accepting to set up the third Mobile Police training college in Nasarawa State. We only have two currently in the country, one in Gwoza, Borno State and another in Osun State and now we have the third one in Nasarawa State.
‘’It is set up at a place that is very hilly, which hitherto, kidnappers and armed robbers used. At Gwoza, they call it the desert training, in Osun they call it forest training and the one in Nasarawa they call it jungle hill training. The project has been completed, we commissioned it last week and everything went very well.
“I also used the visit to express our appreciation to Mr. President for the military super camps that he agreed to set up in Nasarawa, both of them have been established and also for the Airforce Special Forces in Lafia as well as the military Special Forces in Doma.”
The governor said he had been complimenting the efforts of the federal government by giving the needed support to the military and other security agencies operating in the state.
“We are doing a lot when it comes to that. All the various military outlets or police outlets that are sent to Nasarawa State, we play a key role in the allocation of the land and building of infrastructure. We also support a lot with logistics to make sure they are well established and we monitor the projects.
‘’I personally follow those projects and monitor them to ensure that they are established on time. We also have been having special relationship with some of these agencies, especially the Police, where we have now established community policing in Nasarawa State.
‘’We have also been able to use our vigilante groups to tackle criminals in collaboration with the security agencies, especially when kidnappings take place because the vigilantes already know the terrain, so they assist in rescuing kidnap victims.
“I am very happy to inform you that even those who killed the traditional ruler were arrested last week. So, hunters as well as the vigilante groups in Nasarawa State, are able to follow through because they are very familiar with the places.
‘’Most of these criminals in Nasarawa State are new, they are not from Nasarawa State. As a result of that, our own people are more familiar with the terrain and they able to identify where the criminals are,’’ Governor Sule said.
Similarly, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, warned yesterday that Nigeria should not be reduced to a land of blood tears and misery, following the dire security situation in the country.
Consequently, it insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari must sack the service chiefs for not doing enough to stem the killings across the country, and berated the military hierarchy over its responses to criticism and calls on the Federal Government to rejig the nation’s security.
NLC in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, also faulted perceived organised and coordinated campaigns to silence progressive and patriotic voices on the state of insecurity in the country.
The statement read: “It has come to the notice of the Nigeria Labour Congress strenuous efforts by some faceless groups to politicize, discredit, discourage and demobilize credible, progressive, and patriotic voices speaking out courageously on the rising insecurity across the country.
‘’Recently, the governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, and other well-meaning Nigerians have come under scathing attacks from these hired gongs and masked town criers whose penchant is to play the Ostrich on behalf of their sponsors while Rome burns.
“Even the blind knows that the resurgence of insecurity in the country has taken very extreme dimensions. As we noted in our recent press statement on insecurity in Nigeria, many communities in the North East and North West geo-political zones of Nigeria have been deserted for a long time owing to prevailing insecurity.
‘’The lives of our fellow compatriots, many of whom are workers, have been turned into a living hell due to the protracted security challenge in the country. So many lives, families, dreams and prospects have been torn apart and many citizens have been inflicted with scars that may never heal throughout their life time. And some people want Nigerians to be quiet. No way!
“There has been reports purportedly issued by the military high command warning state governors against criticizing the military over its handling of the resurgence of insecurity all over the country.
‘’Our first response is to doubt that such statements actually came from our military high command. If it is true that such statements truly emanated from an institution that is supposed to be under the sovereignty of the people as reposed on elected democratic leadership at all levels, then it is quite unfortunate.
“While saluting the gallantry and sacrifice by members of our Armed Forces, it is important to note that no person or institution is beyond constructive criticism, especially by the people they claim to serve.
‘’Under this democratic dispensation, no person carries the weight of the expectations, hopes and aspirations of the people than their elected leaders. Any attempt to belittle or dismiss their mandate would be tantamount to undermining the will of the Nigerian people, our democratic foundations and our sovereignty as a state.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress will not hesitate to expose those playing politics with the lives of ordinary Nigerians being wasted on daily basis. We once again call on Mr. President to rejig the security apparatus in the country.
‘’We need to try new tactics and new capable hands. Enough of the bloodshed already! We refuse to be reduced to a land of blood, tears, misery, fears and pains. Nigerians will not be cowed!”
Apparently accentuating the fears of the labour movement, three soldiers and a vigilante were yesterday killed by gunmen suspected to be bandits while on a rescue mission at Yakila town in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
Prior to the latest invasion, a Chinese and his Nigerian driver were said to have been abducted by unknown gunmen.
Vanguard gathered from a reliable source that the soldiers and the Vigilante lost their lives as they were gunned down during exchange of gunfire with the bandits.
The gunmen, who were said to be more than 30 in number, reportedly invaded the community on not less than 15 motorcycles, bearing sophisticated weapons.
Efforts to reach out to Niger State police command spokesman, ASP Wasiu Abiodun, proved abortive as he refused to pick his calls.
However, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, on Security Matters, Colonel M K Maikundi, retd, confirmed the attack, adding that security agencies had mobilised to the area.
According to him,”the State Joint Patrol team has already moved to the area and some of the gunmen have also been killed.”
14 persons, including 13 men and a woman, were killed in similar circumstances at Ukuru Village in Mariga Local Government Area of the state last Friday. Five persons also sustained various degrees of injuries.
The village was also invaded by no less than bandits on 52 motorcycles. They shot sporadically at defenceless villages, killing 14, while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.
Meanwhile, Senator Uba Sani has described the visit of CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, to Governor Nasir El-Rufai as an historic development that could be a pathway to solving the crisis in the state, especially Southern Kaduna.
He said in Kaduna yesterday that the visit had commenced a rapprochement between the people of Southern Kaduna and the state government.
The senator described Monday’s visit by the CAN President as uplifting and statesmanlike.
“The visit of the high-powered CAN delegation is heartwarming and strategic as the state government and security agencies step up efforts to end the bandit attacks in Southern Kaduna and parts of the Kaduna Central.
“The visit is a pointer to the fact that it is only through a collaborative effort that we can win the battle against banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling and other crimes,” Uba Sani.
The visit, according to him, will also help refocus attention on solutions to the crisis and lower the political temperature in the state.
“We are one people and must come together to rebuild confidence and chart the pathway to sustainable peace. This is the time for leaders to passionately appeal to our people to give peace a chance,” he said.
Kaduna State government, he said, was totally committed to the restoration of peace and security in Southern Kaduna and the five affected local government areas in Kaduna Central.
He described Governor El-Rufai as Pan-Nigerian with zero tolerance for discrimination and high preference for inclusive governance.
“He cherishes the people of Southern Kaduna and, indeed, all the citizens of Kaduna State, and will do everything in his powers to rebuild their trust and confidence in the sincerity and commitment of the government towards peace and security in the state.”
“It is my hope that the visit of the CAN national leadership will mark the beginning of a rapprochement between the people of Southern Kaduna and the state government so that a partnership can be forged to bring the bandits to their knees.
‘’Special Forces have been deployed to Southern Kaduna. The total support of the people is critical for the mission to succeed.
“I will continue to work closely with the state government and security agencies to bring the insecurity situation in Kaduna Central to an end. Our people have lost so much. Their lives and livelihoods matter,” he said.