Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has said declaration of a state of emergency on banditry would enable security operatives access to clear bandits’ enclaves and other hideouts.
He made the suggestion when he received a delegation of the Northwest States Governors Forum led by Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State.
On December 6, in Isa Local Government Area, bandits set 23 passengers ablaze in a bus.
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Addressing the governor who were on a condolence visit, Tambuwal appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the state of emergency so as to give security operatives additional operational laws to ensure maximum successes in their operations. He said such declaration would allow operatives to work without concerns about rights violations as the bandits were enemies of humanity.
“Bandits have no religious, ideological or ethnicity inclinations; they are notorious criminals terrorising law-abiding citizens.’’
He advised the Federal Government to initiate processes for recruiting locals in the areas affected by banditry to complement efforts of mainstream security personnel to tackle the menace.
“The recruited persons shall serve as special forces equipped with right skills and modern firearms to confront bandits since the locals know the terrains. After the special mission, the recruited persons could be re-engaged as forest guards to prevent new security challenges.
“In Sokoto State, we outlawed the self-styled vanguards referred to as ‘Yansakai’ whose activities of extra-judicious killings led to reprisals and escalation of the situation,’’ he said.
The governor added that legitimate vigilance groups were being trained and teamed with mainstream security operatives to support the latter’s activities.
“All hands must be on deck to check banditry and to support President Buhari at all levels to contain the situation. This situation calls for specialised approach with holistic support from community groups, religious leaders and other individuals to tackle.”
Tambuwal, who urged the citizenry to expose people supporting banditry in any form, especially the informants, thanked the governors forum for the solidarity visit and the donation of N50 million to support affected families.
Governor Masari, who said the visit was to commiserate with Tambuwal over the unfortunate attacks and the loss of lives stressed also that it was time citizens and communities stood up to protect themselves.
“Bandits behave worse than animals in view of the atrocities they perpetrate; people need to protect themselves. The issue of banditry in Northwestern part of the country is not beyond us. We know the problem and the solutions are something that we as a people are capable of doing.This is provided that all of us take responsibility and stop the blame game.
“Banditry, especially our own in the Northwestern part of the country can easily be dealt with if all hands are put on deck. This is because it has no religious coloration, no ethnic coloration, it is not ideological. It is simply pure criminality.”
While acknowledging that the Police had limitations in fighting insecurity, Masari said security agencies required technologies to effectively tackle the challenge.
“We need to know where the bandits are recruited, at what price are they recruited, all these are issues that are very well known to us. These are issues we should have the capacity to do provided there is determination, there is leadership and there is political will.
“We have no alternative; we have to conquer our environment in order to survive in it.
“We in the Northwestern governor’s forum, together with the governors of Plateau, Nasarawa and Niger, are working with the Federal Government to come up with strategies and solutions.
Similarly, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State said blaming each other would not bring any solution to the security challenge.
“We have seen a lot in this country. The issue started with cattle rustling that looked so simple and so indigenous. We did not even investigate it to find out what was its root course.
“Cattle rustling has graduated to kidnapping, kidnapping graduated to banditry while we are fighting Boko haram on the other side.
“We have to break that cycle. Our first challenge is how we reclaim our forests without being affected by the bandits,” he said.
Proffering solution, Ganduje said data must be sourced while also calling for the use of technology in the fight against insecurity.
“There must be planning, there must be data, there must be commitment, there must be timeline for whatever we are going to do. How far have we involved communities? We must go back to the drawing board. The communities need to be involved, there must be community policing,” he said.
John Abebe’s forgery trial adjourned
The trial of John Warimeme Abebe before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has been adjourned till April 13, 2022 for the adoption of written addresses.
Justice Mojisola Dada gave the new date at the continuation of trial on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, with the defence closing its case.
Abebe, ex- President Obasanjo’s in-law was first arraigned on July 26, 2018 on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the course of justice by the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Limited’s letter dated 30th November, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Limited by inserting in page 2 of the said letter the following words: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields” and purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and committed an offence contrary to Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
Another count reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly used a fabricated evidence in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited, before the Federal High Court, which evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the said suit and committed an offence contrary to Section 120 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”
Abebe pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.
Led in evidence by his counsel, E.D. Onyeke, the defendant had taken to the dock to defend himself.
He was also cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who confronted him with several documents.
At today’s sitting, Onyeke told the Court that the defence was closing its case.
“We will be asking the Court for a date to file our written address,” he said.
Thereafter, Justice Dada adjourned till April 13, 2022 for “definitive adoption of written addresses”.
Bandits killed 300 persons, kidnapped 200 in Niger January attacks – Gov
In the first two weeks of this month, Niger State communities were attacked by bandits at least 50 times, with over 300 persons killed and 200 kidnapped, including security personnel.
Governor Abubakar Bello disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday after he met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to brief him on the development.
The governor, who enumerated the series of attacks and their consequences on lives, blamed the low response time to the attacks on the lack of access roads to the affected communities.
He, however, expressed optimism that with the new measures being put in place, the security situation in the state would improve soon, adding that contiguous states must work together to stop terrorists from moving from one region to another.
Bello stated, “This afternoon, I came to visit Mr President to give him an update on the security situation in Niger State concerning banditry activities, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others. We were able to review some of the invasions in the state. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you all.
“In the last few days, there have been a lot of activities in Niger State. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see some relief with regard to banditry. I also gave a highlight on some of the challenges. Of course, our size is a disadvantage, almost nine million hectares. We lost some forests.
“In January this year alone, we suffered not less than 50 reported attacks and loss of lives between January 1 and 17. Within the same period, no fewer than 300 communities were invaded by bandits. The number of people kidnapped is 200, including three Chinese nationals.”