Declare bandits terrorists, 36 speakers tell Buhari

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• Want state of emergency on security
• Sokoto gov seeks reversal of telecom shutdown
• Nigeria sliding into anarchy, CAN youth wing laments
• Kaduna Anglican Bishop urges Buhari to save the nation from the brink of collapse

The 36 House of Assembly speakers has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists and enemies of the nation. This was their resolution at a Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly in Katsina State yesterday.

The call of the Conference of Speakers is coming a day after Katsina Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, reiterated the earlier call of his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir el-Rufai and the National Assembly for the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the nation’s security and declare bandits as terrorists.

Chairman of the Conference, who is also Bauchi State Speaker, Abubakar Suleiman, while making the call at the end of their third yearly meeting, said it was part of their five-point communiqué at the end of their eight-hour deliberations.

He said: “We call on President Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists and enemies of the state. The conference has observed all the activities carried out by the bandits as containing the same mode of operations used by terrorists.

“The Conference also decried the state of insecurity in the country and resolved to work out legislative frameworks, to complement the efforts of the Federal Government to address the security challenges in the country.

“In addition, the Conference also resolved to make appropriate laws to address the fundamental issues that breed insecurity in the land, as well as create employment for the youths and curb the menace of insecurity in the country.”

The Speakers’ Conference further commended governors who gave their assents to the fund management bills passed by their respective state Assemblies and called on those yet to do so to expedite action on the bill for effective implementation of financial autonomy for the state legislatures and judiciary.

The host governor, Masari, had on Saturday added his voice to the growing call for bandits to be labelled terrorists. Katsina is one of the epicentres in the nation’s Northwest where banditry and other criminal activities reign supreme, leaving many citizens traumatised.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Masari said that the security agencies were doing their best at tackling the state of insecurity nationwide but the Federal Government ought to adopt more measures towards resolving the problem.

The governor identified the 1975 Local Government Reforms as a fundamental factor engendering current security issues in the nation and also urged participants at the conference to adopt certain measures being implemented by Katsina to check the state of insecurity.

“The Katsina State government decided to review the system and bring on board the traditional institutions and other relevant stakeholders to participate directly in security decisions and management.

“We reviewed the state local government law and we have created three-tier security committees across the 34 Local Government areas, to provide security agencies with useful information and assist ineffective policing and ensure arrest of offenders and hand them over to the appropriate authorities.

“We also adopted the Security Containment Order, which is another milestone achievement recorded in the security subsector as well as community conflict resolution centres across the state for civil and non-criminal cases, to reduce congestion in the courts.”

The district head of Batsari (Sarkin-Ruman Katsina) in Katsina State, Tukur Mu’azu Ruma, has said bandits fleeing the onslaught in neighbouring Zamfara and Kaduna states are infiltrating and taking over farming communities in the Batsari local council of Katsina.

According to him, the current onslaught is causing hardship and starvation for the bandits in neighbouring states, forcing them to ransack communities within his chiefdom to seize foodstuff and other valuables belonging to innocent residents of the area.

Speaking with journalists at his palace, he said many farmers in the local government were not harvesting their crops due to the activities of the bandits, and in some areas, the bandits are the ones doing the harvest instead.

He said the bandits displaced by security agencies in Zamfara State had formed different enclaves in communities bordering Runka forest and other adjoining forests in the area from where they come out daily to attack innocent citizens at night, especially along Batsari-Jibia road.

MEANWHILE, the Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has appealed to the Federal Government to restore telecom services in areas experiencing banditry in the state.

Tambuwal made the call at the weekend while receiving the governors of Borno and Gombe states, Babagana Zulum and Muhammad Yahaya, who represented governors of the Northeast geopolitical zone in a condolence visit to the state over the recent markets attacks by bandits that left more than 40 people dead.

Tambuwal said the decision was taken at the enlarged security meeting in the state.

“The call for the rescinding of the blockade became necessary in view of concerns expressed by security outfits in the state that the outage was affecting the smooth conduct of their works. We have already forwarded a letter to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to review the telecoms blockade,” he said.

This is as reports emerged that bandits in Zamfara State were evading the telecommunication blackout in many parts of the state to reach out to families of two graduates abducted en route to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Kebbi State.

THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Youth Wing has declared that Nigeria is sliding into anarchy because of alleged poor management of the nation’s security system by the Federal Government. YOWICAN chairman, Belusochukwu Enwere, said this yesterday, in a statement condemning the killing of three monarchs in Imo State, attacks at the Goronyo Market in Sokoto State, and the reported bombing of the Kaduna-Abuja railway track last week by bandits. According to him, the Federal Government can find a political solution to insecurity in the country.

He said: “We condemn in totality the increasing insecurity in the land. This is not acceptable to Nigerians, no matter the tribe, religion and ethnicity. Where are our leaders?

“Nigeria is sliding into anarchy where religion, ethnicism, killings and insecurity are spreading like wildfire. Christian and Muslim youths’ across the country, and indeed Nigerians should pray hard against killers before we are all consumed. This is unacceptable and condemnable.

“The government at all levels, traditional rulers, religious men and women, youth, as well as all and sundry should begin henceforth to preach and practice peace.”

THE Archbishop of Kaduna Anglican Church Diocese, Right Reverend Timothy Yahaya, has called on Buhari to unite Nigerians and avoid anything that may cause division among citizens.

Yahaya reminded the President of the oath he took when he assumed office and his promise to live by it, while urging him to resolve all ethnic and religious diversity tearing the country apart.

The Bishop cited the current agitation for succession as a product of injustice inherent in the country, saying it was unfortunate that Nigerians now pay more allegiance to their ethnic and religious entities instead of seeing themselves as full-fledged Nigerians devoid of primordial background.

According to the cleric who spoke with newsmen yesterday, the ethnic division in Nigeria has almost torn the nation apart and gradually destroyed the basis of unity among citizens.

Yahaya said: “If in Iboland today, the people are given Biafra; right in Iboland, I know when you go to Imo State, the Okigwe man will want to be the leader, same for the Orlu man. So, when you give Biafra, it won’t end the agitations. If we have a problem, let’s acknowledge that we have a problem and solve it.”

Yahaya cited the problems of “marginalisation, oppression, segregation and problems of religious differences as the realities hunting the nation.”

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