By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
TO further step up efforts at combating the menace of banditry and related crimes threatening the peace and security of it communities, the Sokoto state government has initiated and embarked on a responsive mobilization of various socio cultural groups including herdsmen, farmers among others as a volunteer vigilante group to nip it in the bud.
The meeting is said to be with the tact and full support of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to fashion out modalities, measures and evolve synergy that would fast track better, effective and efficient relations between volunteer vigilantes and security agencies that would strengthen adequate community participation against crime.
This according to Kebbe local government chairman,
Alhaji Lawalli Fakku was muted to demonstrate the level of commitment of the state government to securing he lives and property of its people especially in vulnerable areas.
Fakku who made the disclosure weekend in Kebbe, headquarters of Kebbe local government area of Sokoto state during an all important interactive session with representatives of security agencies, traditional and religious leaders, farmers, herdsmen, local government and authorities pointed out that his council and a number of others in the state had over time been threatened by growing security challenges of farmers/ herdsmen clashes, cattle rustling, kidnapping, robbery and other crimes.
” These crime have been posing gross insecurity and threats to the peace and environmental comfort long being enjoyed by our communities”, he said.
Similarly, the Council Boss who expressed concern over the continued influx of herders and other strangers including fulani migrants also observed that a number of communities in Kebbe were bordered by Zamfara and Kebbi states, hence the threat to the security and peace of the people.
At the interactive session chaired by the National Chairman of Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa who noted that similar efforts were acknowledged and being driven to achieve the desired results by the Ebonyi, Ekiti and Ondo states governments which was yielding positive impacts.
He however, said the step taken was encouraging and plans were underway to ensure replication of such measures across the country while noting that laws prohibiting child grazing and night grazing would soon be enforced.
Kiruwa, hitherto, chided wealthy herdsmen for their insensitive nature towards safe guarding their wealth by subjecting worth millions to the care of minors.
” They are the most insensitive wealthy group in the world when it comes to safeguarding wealth. You see a wealthy fulani herdsman allowing children to control herds worth millions.”
He urged herdsmen to encourage their family members to participate in the joint volunteers vigilante group while stressing that the initiative would further contribute in providing useful information as well assist in the fight against banditry.
” I would like call on all to be law abiding and be cautious against taken laws into your hands. Also, I am appealing to those in possession of guns and other dangerous weapons to silently and peacefully surrender them to authorities.”
In the same vein, while underscoring the relevance of the interactive session in times of security challenges, the Commanding Officer 26 Battalion of Nigerian Army Sokoto, Lt.Col. Ibrahim Sherif said that the participation of both the military and other security agencies was in line with directives of Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Tukur Burutai on tackling security challenges.
Sherif who stood in for the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division of Nigeria Army, Sokoto explained that army deployment to Kebbe and environs was to work out modalities and possible synergy to handle security matters.
In his remarks, the District Head of Balle, Alhaji Abubakar Kasim who sought for more proactive laws against night and child grazing, influx and accommodation of people(strangers) in communities, described the meeting as timely and assured of traditional rulers cooperation toward achieving success.