DHQ Faults Zamfara Governor on Terrorism War, Lawal Blames Political Interference for Prolonged Insecurity

Ikechukwu Aleke in Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday faulted the claim by the Governor of Zamfara State, Dauda Lawal, that the military and the police are nowhere to be found whenever they are needed in the fight against terrorists in the state.
This is as the governor yesterday blamed the lingering fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom and other emerging security threats across the federation on political interference.
Governor had on a television interview on Tuesday lamented the laidback attitude of the police and the military in combating the menace of banditry plaguing the North-West state.

He said the uninspiring attitude of federal government-controlled security agencies was responsible for the creation of the state security outfit, Community Protection Guards, in January
“We, as governors, don’t have control over the military; we don’t have control over the police as well as the civil defence. In most cases, we get frustrated,” the governor said during the TV programme monitored by THISDAY.
“When you need these people, they are nowhere to be found and the best thing to do is to set up that kind of security outfit,” the governor added.
Reacting during a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, condemned what he described as the weighty allegations labelled against the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), by the Zamfara State Governor in the TV interview.

Buba insisted that the AFN is a professional force that is subservient to political authority, particularly the political leadership of Zamfara State.
The military, he said, will not join issues with the governor, rather, it chooses the part of cooperation over conflict with the state governor and looks forward to constructively engaging with him on these matters.

According to the DHQ spokesman, the loss of nine military personnel in the month of June, was a painful testament of the military’s tireless efforts, commitment and sacrifice to restoring peace and security in the state.
Meanwhile, Governor Lawal yesterday blamed the lingering fight against terrorism on political interference.

Lawal said this while responding to questions on TV Town Hall Meeting on security, monitored by THISDAY.
He also posited that the police were doing their best, adding that the reality is that they are not taken care of.
“We need to restructure, because there are issues that need to be clearly defined,” he added.
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 where 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 fund their activities.
He revealed that kidnapping is part of the thing terrorists and bandits use to raise funds, stressing that externally, “we have external people that equally support them. On the issue of IPOB, for instance, there is a lot of funding that comes in, from outside”.
Musa said that the Military High Command had repeatedly complained about Simon Ekpa, explaining that he is in Finland, and the Finnish Government is giving him all the support.

He noted that people are being killed because of the comments Ekpa is making and nothing is being done.
The CDS said: “If the 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 a 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 sources 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 was not from the federal government alone, adding that the states were also critical.
He said: “Let us look at solutions; do we have a comprehensive database 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 are 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 agency 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 has a lot they can do”.

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