Tracking Bandits on Nasarawa Hills

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Mohammed Adamu,
Mohammed Adamu

There is an ongoing tracking of bandits dislodged from the North West and North East parts of the country on the hilly places of Nasarawa State, writes Igbawase Ukumba

Recently, President Mohammadu Buhari held a closed-door meeting with the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, at the Presidential Villa to address the worsening security situation in the state due to killings and kidnappings.
Notable among the worsening security situation in the state were the killings of a traditional ruler, veteran journalist, siblings to a former minister of information, Labaran Maku, and kidnapping of state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Joseph Masin, among many others.

In a chat with State House correspondents shortly after the meeting, Governor Sule attributed the security challenges in the state to bandits, who were dislodged from the North Western and North Eastern parts of the country. He added that the hoodlums were taking advantage of the state rocky situation to carry out their nefarious act.

Acccording to him, “Hunters as well as the vigilante groups in Nasarawa State are able to follow them, because they are very familiar with the places. The criminals in Nasarawa State are new; they are not from Nasarawa State. Therefore, as a result of that, our own people are more familiar with the ground and are able to follow where they are.

“We have some of the bandits that were dislodged from the North West and the North East and they found some of these hilly places in Nasarawa State comfortable. So, they moved to those locations and as a result of that, we followed up to ensure that we track them based on what they do.

“We believe there are criminal elements amongst people of the state and they must fish them out,” said Sule in a charge to key stakeholders, when he paid a fact finding visit to the palace of the Osu Ajiri, Halilu Bala Usman, the traditional ruler of Udege Chiefdom, following the killing of Mr. Amos Ewa Obere, the monarch of Odu in Nasarawa Local Government Area.

He, therefore, reiterated that the security of lives of the citizens was a priority for his administration, insisting that criminals must not be allowed to truncate the peace and economic activities in the communities. He hitherto vowed that his administration would spare no efforts in tackling violent crimes in the state.

Nevertheless, the governor recently convened a meeting of over 70 graded traditional rulers, heads of security agencies and community leaders as a critical step towards checking the menace of the criminals.

Sadly, the Nasarawa State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) was also a victim as its former treasurer, Benjamin Ekom, was attacked and brutally killed by gunmen at his residence in Washo village, Nassarawa-Eggon Local Government Area of the state. Be it as it may, the union described the attack on innocent residents of the state by criminal elements as one too many and urged that drastic and proactive measures be taken by government to protect lives and property in all nocks and crannies of the state.

The leadership of the union urged security agencies to fish out the killers of the former treasurer of the union to face the law and called on members of the public to expose criminal elements in their midst in order to rid the state of crimes. The union commended efforts by the federal and state governments towards tackling insecurity, but wanted them to do more and ensure that the people were safe to go about their activities without fear, to avoid escalation of the situation out of control.

Perhaps, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Buratai, at a ground breaking for the construction of 4 Special Forces Command of the Nigerian Army Barracks, Doma in Nasarawa State, regretted that the terrorists threat in the country was shifting to the North Central part of Nigeria.

Buratai, who spoke through the Chief of Plan and Policy, Lt Gen Lamidi Adeosun, said constant evolving nature of threats in the country underscores the need for Special Forces troops with requisite skills to operate under all weather, conditions and terrains to be established if the threats were to be nibbled.

To this end, the Chief of Army Staff said: “This necessitated the establishment of 4 Special Forces Command to be domiciled in Doma but covering the entire country operationally. Since I assumed command as the Chief of Army Staff, I have always viewed that the Nigerian Army required force enablers and multipliers, and not just brute numbers, to effectively combat the plethora of security threats being faced by Nigeria.”

“This is why I, among other actions, pushed for the establishment of Special Forces units and formations that are motivated, empowered and resourced to go where others dare not to go and do what others thought was impossible.”

Nevertheless, the recent inauguration of the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills, in Nasarawa-Eggon Local Government Area of the state by President Buhari was intended to tackle the state’s battle with the activities of an Islamic sect “Darul-Salam and Hakika” in Toto and Awe Local Government Areas of the state, as well as kidnapping, which has pervaded the rural areas and resulted in the killing of a Traditional Ruler of Odu community, also in Nasarawa Local Government Area.

At inauguration of the Endeh Hills Police Mobile Force Training College, Governor Sule expressed his profound appreciation to President Buhari for graciously approving the siting of the Police Mobile Force Training College in Nasarawa State.

“We remain grateful for this laudable project. Let me also commend the Inspector-General of Police for conceiving the idea of establishing this college, aimed at equipping the personnel with technical knowledge, as well as strengthening our collective efforts in curbing security challenges in the country,” Sule said.

The Endeh Hills project, according to the Inspector General of Police, “is significant in several ways. It represents a critical national security asset, which was established as part of the strategic approaches of the Nigeria Police in strengthening the capacity of the special and tactical operations arms of the Nigeria Police in dealing with current and emerging threats in the country on a sustainable basis.”

The Inspector General, who spoke during the inauguration of the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills, said specialised training was key to effective planning, coordination, and successful operations of the Police, especially at the time that the nation was faced with the threats of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery. It is, therefore, imperative that the Police should continually explore opportunities for capacity development of its personnel, particularly, those that are relied upon to respond to major threats of internal security.

“The increasingly complex threats that the Police, as the primary internal security agency are grappling with had necessitated the need to establish new Mobile Police Squadrons and expand the capacity of the Counterterrorism Unit and the Police Special Forces to deal with the threats. This initiative has widened the training requirements of the Nigeria Police,” Adamu explained.

It was clear at Endeh Hills that the policy thrust of the present administration in the country is to modernise the internal security network of the country in line with international best practices, as stated by President Buhari, when he inaugurated the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills.

Buhari, who spoke through the Minister of Police Affairs, Mahammad Dingyadi, said hence the conceptualisation and timely completion of the Endeh Hills facility for the training of the police special forces in dealing with current threats of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other emerging crimes.”

Acccording to the President, “The intention is to enhance training facilities to neutralise emerging crimes in the country. Similar training facilities will be established in other geo-political zones of the country to strengthen the capacity of the Mobile Police, which is the stronghold of the police.”

He said the Endehu Police Mobile Force Training College facility is of great significance as it adds to the existing ones at Gwoza in Borno State and ila-Orogun in Osun State. He therefore commended the Inspector General of Police, and his management team, for the dexterity and commitment to improve the Nigeria police.

“The recent upgrading of the intelligence unit to a full department, creation of additional Mobile Police Squadrons, creation of Operation Puff Adder and other operational outfits are credible evidences of your commitment to duty and loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I equally thank the government and people of Nasarawa State for supporting the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills project and others in the state,” Buhari maintained.

Meanwhile, following approval by the president of the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills, the college has commenced training courses for police officers in shooting range and jungle survival on August 16, 2020.
The Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, disclosed this in a statement signed by the Police Public Relation Officer of the state command, Ramhan Nansel, and issued to journalists in Lafia.

According to the statement, “Course participants will be engaged in series of activities including shooting range and jungle survival, amongst others. In view of the above, movement of combat operatives to the training ground as well as sound of gunshots will be expected. The Commissioner of Police wishes to call for calm, urging members of the public to go about their daily activities without panic as this is a regular training exercise for personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.”