Niger State government says it would deploy the use of technology to enhance surveillance towards bringing to an end the activities of bandits in the State.
The State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed this in an interview with State House Correspondents, after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the Nigerian leader would give whatever support is needed, to address the problem of insecurity in the State.
He said: “I met the President and first of all I wished him a happy New Year; I also seized the opportunity to discuss matters surrounding the security situation within Niger State.
“Recently, we have been experiencing an influx of bandits from neighbouring states and even though our security agencies are doing their best, I found it necessary to update Mr. President on the situation.
“So, we had a very fruitful discussion and also pledged more support to the state on security matters so that within the shortest possible time we will address the security situation.
“The dynamics of criminal activities have changed. They started with armed robbery then they moved to cattle rustling and then to kidnapping as a means of getting money. But recently the trend has changed, they started burning farms and animals. So, this has given me some concerns and at the same time it has kept me thinking, what is the motive. I am worried because this year most of the farmers did not have the opportunity to go to their farms to harvest even when they planted. So, the bandits torch the farms, they just burn everything.
“This is a serious one because it does not affect Niger alone, it affects the entire country. So, when we are not able to feed our nation, then it becomes a major challenge.”
The Governor, who said the use of local vigilantes has helped a lot in addressing the problem in the State, warned that any traditional ruler found involved in supporting criminals, would be dethroned.
“Let me tell you what has worked so far and we have made a lot of progress. What I have done is that I moved the responsibility of security to the committee level. And at the committee level, they know themselves.
“The vigilantes are controlled by the local government, and sometimes by the ministry, for the government has been doing very well. And for so many reasons, one they are defending their farmlands, they are defending their families.
“It is different when you send someone from somewhere, the enthusiasm to really fight and motivate people to protect their environment is usually better when you deal with locals. Yes, I found the local security at the lowest level very helpful. But again, one major challenge that we found out is that in some cases the locals have adapted to this kind of business (banditry) and that is even more difficult.
“The bandits are being invited by some locals. In fact, we have arrested some village heads. Now if a whole village head invites bandits or harbours bandits, then where are we headed to? The village head is supposed to secure the village.
“So, we are going to be ruthless with any villaBanditryge head found wanting in this regard, because there is no way we can make progress if the traditional institution at the lowest level becomes part of it and I’m in discussions with the Emirs, first-class Emirs to dethrone or strip any village head of his appointment once being caught,” he warned.
Source: Voice of Nigeria