Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, on Thursday in Kaduna re-assured that government would end banditry and other crimes in the northwest geo-political zone.
Mustapha gave the assurance in a keynote address at a two-day stakeholders’ engagement on current security challenges in the zone.
The address was delivered on his behalf by Mr. David Attah, Director, Special Services at the SGF office.
Attah said that tackling insecurity was one of the three priority areas of the Federal Government which had been working assiduously to reduce it to the barest minimum.
“We will not rest until peace; order and public safety are fully restored in our country.
“Nigeria has been grappling with a number of security challenges that have resulted in loss of valuable lives and displacement of several people as well as destruction of property worth billions of naira,’’ he said.
He noted that as part of efforts to tackle the menace, the Federal Government increased budgetary allocation to security apparatuses including the military.
“Similarly, government granted approval for the recruitment of 10,000 police personnel for three consecutive years while salaries of those already in service were increased to boost morale, enhance productivity and elicit hard work,’’ he said.
He noted that security situation had improved across the country.
“Insurgents in the northeast have been decimated considerably.
“More than 30,000 insurgents and their families have surrendered and the threats of separatists in the southeast and parts of South-South have reduced in traction.
“In the maritime domain, our waters are now calm and we no longer receive reports of daily attacks by pirates,’’ Attah said.
He urged traditional institutions, religious organisations, civil society, trade unions, security personnel, individuals and organisations to cooperate in the fight against insecurity.
He noted that the sanctity of life had been called to question with the emergence of security challenges such as human and child trafficking, baby factory syndrome, ritual killings and the likes.
“The perpetrators of the evil acts live among us and are our relatives. This highlights the need for cooperation by communities and the whole of society to tackle the menace.
“This workshop is part of the non-kinetic approaches to sensitise communities on the need to collaborate with government at all levels to tackle banditry and other related crimes in the northwest.
“The workshop is aimed at addressing the issue of confidentiality of information given and protecting volunteers of such information going forward,’’ he stressed.
Earlier, Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said that the timing of the workshop was apt, as a testament to government’s determination to address insecurity.
Aruwan said that the choice of location also reflected the strategic importance of Kaduna State to the collaborative efforts to end insecurity in the northwest.
“Security threats confronting the northwest states, particularly banditry and terrorism, have become increasingly irregular,’’ he said.
The commissioner recalled that the state government set up a peace commission in 2017 to enhance the promotion of peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the state.
“The Kaduna State Peace Commission has facilitated dialogues between several diametrically opposed groups.
“Such engagements helped us to identify actual threats, appropriated differences in new ways and encouraged healthy cross-pollination of positive values.
“Similar positive impact is envisioned from the much broader version put together by this workshop,’’ Aruwan said.
He noted that when security issues were politicised, criminal elements got emboldened and were provided with shield to deepen criminality and proliferate their inhuman acts.
“The Kaduna State government has consistently stated that all citizens must recourse to the law in the face of grievance or injury.
“Certainly, civil society and the media are crucial to our efforts. They are critical partners to security agencies and government in tackling security issues.
“The right narratives must be sent out to the public.
“Playing to the gallery and `performative’ actions to whip up narrow sentiments only do more harm than good in the fight against banditry, kidnapping and insurgency,’’ the commissioner added.
The theme of the workshop is “Enhancing the Role of Local Communities in the Security Architecture through Awakening Security Awareness and Consciousness.”