Political Interference Stalling Fight against Terrorism, Says Zamfara Gov

Boko Haram terrorists kill 3, sack Niger village 

Ikechukwu Aleke in Abuja and Laleye Dipo in Minna

The Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, has blamed the lingering fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom and other emerging security threats across the federation on political interference.  Governor Lawal said this  yesterday , while responding to questions on the Channels TV Town Hall Meeting on security. 

While the governor was speaking, there were reports  that terrorists suspected to be of the Boko Haram sect last Tuesday killed three villagers in Lantan village in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The terrorists also sacked the village and ordered the villagers never to return there.

Governor Lawal  also posited that the police are  doing their best but the reality is that they are not taken care of, adding that “we need to restructure, because there are issues that need to be clearly defined.” 

According to him, “The military and other security agencies have the capability to take care of these security threats if there is no political interference. It will just be a matter of time and we would have  solved the problem of insecurity in the country.” 

When asked to unmask the political actors interfering on security issues, he said: “He who wears the shoe knows were it hurts, and that is why I am telling you this. There is so much political interference, these guys should be allowed to do their job, they are professionals, they have the capability and they can do it. Let us allow them to work, let us allow them to function.

On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher  Musa, said that terrorists’ supporters and sympathisers contribute money to what they are doing.

He revealed that kidnapping is part of the thing terrorists and bandits use to raise fund, stressing that externally, “we have external people that equally support them. On the issue of IPOB, for instance, there are lot of funding that come in, from outside”. 

General Musa said that the military high command, has repeatedly complained about Simon Ekpa, explaining that he is in Finland, and the Finnish Government is giving him all the support and he is doing what he is doing.

He noted that people are being killed because of the comments Ekpa  is making and nothing is being done. 

The CDS said: “If European Union is the one supporting democracy, and this is happening, and they are not taking action, then, they don’t mean well for Nigeria. We have said this in clear terms, we need to diplomatically find way of getting him out. He must be arrested and prosecuted. Let us look at it the other way, assuming he is in Nigeria and he is doing that to the Finnish Government, do you think that the European Union would allow that to happen? They definitely will not, so, why are they allowing him to do what he is doing to Nigeria. People like him that are doing such things, must be stopped, by trailing their source of funds. It  is very critical. I know that CBN and NFIU are doing a lot in tracking down their source of funding. This is part of what we call the oxygen of terrorism, its logistics, its leadership and funding. Your ability to trail those things, tackle them and deny them the ability to operate will kill terrorism.”

Speaking on political will to fight crime in Nigeria, the CDS said political will is not from federal government alone, the states are also critical. 

He said: “Let us look at solutions, do we have a comprehensive data base as a country? If you go to Cameroon, Chad or Niger, for instance, once you enter, they will know that you are a foreigner and they have these duties as citizens. Once you speak, they will know that you are a foreigner.  If it is a taxi driver, he will tell you that his vehicle has a problem, he will just step aside and  call the police and before you know it the police is around to ask you, what your mission to the country is. We don’t have that and that is why we say that every Nigerian has a role to play, one way or the other.” 

He said that the security of a country is not a military or security agencies alone, everybody has a role to play. 

He concluded that, “When you go abroad and things happen, and they get people arrested, they are not using witchcraft, they have data. We should have such things and like I said, a state governor was talking about political will, it starts from the state. The state have a lot, they can do.” 

Meanwhile, terrorists suspected to be of the Boko Haram sect last Tuesday killed three villagers in Lantan village in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The terrorists also sacked the village and ordered the villagers never to return there.

Those killed, it was learnt, were going to the village from the IDP camp where they were when they ran into the gunmen leading to their death.

Eyewitnesses said that the gunmen, after their first raid of the community last week during which more than 30 villagers were said to have been killed with 10 of them slaughtered in cold blood, were angered that some of the villagers returned to the area.

The eyewitnesses said the Boko Haram terrorists have now taken over the village and turned it to their “permanent abode” like what they did in Allawa, a few kilometres to Lantan.

It was said that during the raid, virtually all the houses and huts in the village were ransacked and “all valuable items,” including foodstuff, were taken away before the houses were set on fire.

THISDAY gathered that while the gunmen were operating, no security operative came to their rescue.

The state Commissioner for Homeland Security, Major-General Abdullahi Garba (rtd), and the state Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached for comment as they were not responding to phone calls.

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