Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sokoto governor blames manpower challenge for increased banditry

Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has identified inadequate manpower and lack of regional cooperation as some of the factors militating against the ability of Nigeria and her neighbours to successfully wage the war against terrorism and other forms of insurgency.

Nigeria and neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon have been engulfed in violent unrest in the past few years, battling to contain the threat of Boko Haram and its twin partner, the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP.

Tambuwal stated this while delivering his address as a guest speaker in a webinar organised by Umaru Shinkafi Legacy Foundation at its Annual Umaru Shinkafi Security Summit in Memory of the Late Umar Ali Shinkafi, former Director-General of the defunct National Security Organisation, now Department of State Services, DSS.

“Recently, we’ve been experiencing a low level of manpower and even though we have established a military unit of 8 Division in the state, the manpower is not up to a battalion; so it is undermanned.

“They don’t have the manpower, they don’t have the equipment, so, there’s need for deployment of more troops, more hands, more equipment, more flexible vehicles that will lead them to areas because the problem is not in one place; it is sporadic with the bandits hastily moving from one place to another.

“So, they have to be pursued, the landmass is wide and vast even into the Niger Republic. It is very difficult to even in gathering intelligence.”

While reiterating the determination of his administration to secure the people and their properties, the governor pleaded with security agencies to close ranks in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Tambuwal continued, “I appeal that we should be more focused and there must be synergy between security agencies.

“If I will be honest, in the past, one of the challenges was non-existence of synergy at the top level of security agencies.

“Here in Sokoto, I must report that the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, DSS, the police are all united and I commend them but at the top level of military and security high command, it is obvious there is no synergy.

“We cannot continue this way; we need to deploy drones, we need to deploy all that we can to address this challenge. The actions of security agents should be simultaneous otherwise when you address the challenge in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger or Sokoto, the bandits will quickly move to the next state. There’s a need to take it all together.

“I told the President when I met him to collaborate with the President of Niger Republic because we have states like Douso, Tahoua, Maradia and Zinder on the border of Nigeria and they are having the problems of banditry.

“The Nigerian forces can pursue criminals into the Niger Republic, the Niger Republic forces can also pursue them into Nigeria, so there is need for coordination at the level of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.”

Other participants in the webinar were northern elders and stakeholders including Governor Bello Muttawalle of Zamfara state, former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, erstwhile minister of Defence, Abdulrahman Dambazau, ex-governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, among others.

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