‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja

Daily Courier – The Kaduna State government, on Tuesday, disclosed that 1,192 persons were killed by bandits and other forms of violence in 2021 across the state, just as 309 terrorists were neutralised by security agents.

Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who disclosed this during the presentation of the 2021 Annual Security Report at the Government House, Kaduna, said within the same period review, 3,348 were kidnapped.

Aruwan said out of 1,192 killed, 1,038 were men, 104 women and 50 minors.

The governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, at the presentation of the state’s 2021 Annual Security Report, held at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, on Tuesday, 1st February 2022 at the second annual presentation on security incidents in Kaduna State said like the 2020 maiden edition, the report is a sobering reading because it is a factual account of a challenging situation. Its pages contain hard data which reflect the pains inflicted on our people across the state by criminals and outlaws. The report also provides background and an update on the steps being taken by the Kaduna State Government to manage this serious challenge.

The statement reads: “The report presented today shows that in 2021, and an average of 9 persons were kidnapped daily across Kaduna State, mostly in the Kaduna Central senatorial district. There is also an escalation in the number of persons killed by a whopping 255 compared to those sadly killed by banditry and criminality in 2020 in spite of our best efforts in supporting the Federal security agencies to bring an end to this phenomenon.

“As we digest these sad statistics, we pray for the repose of the souls of those killed, pay tribute to the victims of various crimes, reiterate our solidarity with them, and reaffirm our resolve to continue to protect our people, and stop the criminals. The victims of these outlaws cut across our state, though we note the persistence of certain narratives that try to coat sheer criminality in ethno-religious or regional hues, depending on the identity of the victims.

“As a subnational, the Kaduna State Government has always used the limited tools available to it to address these dire times. Since 2015, we have supported the federal security agencies deployed in our state with vehicles and other logistics. Security incidents in the 2016-2019 period ranged from communal clashes to cattle-rustling, kidnappings, robberies and murders. Lessons learned from managing these incidents during our first-term informed our decision to establish the first sub-national Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs at the beginning of our second-term in 2019.

“The mandate of the Ministry is to manage the state government’s relationship with the federal security agencies deployed in the state and to coordinate their activities towards securing our people in an atmosphere of unprecedented challenges. This entails building strong relationships with these agencies. Through the Ministry, the state is deepening intelligence gathering from communities. It also runs the 24-hour Security Operations Room.

“The tragic events of 2021 reported today reinforce the importance of collaboration as a security tool. Governors of five frontline states in the North-west zone and Niger State continue to share information and press for the security agencies for a sustained campaign of continuous, simultaneous operations against the terrorists across our vast region.”

On measures to curb insecurity in the state, El-rufai said: “The states implemented several measures including the telecoms shutdown as recommended by the security agencies to enable kinetic operations. We commend our people for the sacrifices they made during the shutdown. I want to reiterate that some of the measures like prohibition of (a) the sale of petroleum products, (b) operation of weekly markets in selected areas, and (c) use of motorcycles remain in place until we see clear progress in the fight against the terrorists.

“We are in no doubt that that there must be an urgent national effort to strengthen our security forces. The military and police need modern technology, advanced armaments, equipment and more boots on the ground. The security of our communities depends on the robust projection of state power, and that can only be done with sufficient security personnel to overawe and deter criminals. The prerogatives of the state need to be asserted, not merely proclaimed. The people we put in uniform must never be placed in avoidable danger, outgunned or outnumbered by non-state actors.

” It is when the terrorists are decimated that ‘soft’, non-kinetic peace building will gain traction. Part of the soft tools we have developed in Kaduna State is the Peace Commission, empowered to engage our communities and incline them towards a peaceful resolution of differences. We are also supporting the House of Kaduna Family as a vital platform for religious leaders to promote a common humanity across our diversity.”

He noted with sadness, the escalation of violence in Zangon-Kataf Chiefdom, which appears to be rapidly spilling into the Chawai part of Kauru Local Government. We condemn the disregard for human life and the violations of law that are fuelling the crisis. We sympathise with the affected communities. He noted that this outbreak of violence is a serious challenge to the community level peace process initiated by His Highness, the Agwam of Zangon Kataf and community leaders in the area. While the security agencies keep trying their best, the peacemakers on the ground should not be discouraged. Peace is worth every effort, despite the setbacks encountered.

He further stated that: “We continue to emphasise that as a state government, we do not believe that there is any phenomenon like ‘repentant bandits’. Any person that makes a conscious decision to secure arms, challenge the authority of the Nigerian state, and threatens the lives and property of Nigerians does not deserve to live, or be granted any concession by the society. There are no immediate or remote causes to justify terrorist conduct. Those that hide behind these are either ethnic jingoists, religious apologists or fail to recognise that no legitimate government can survive by tolerating terrorists or negotiating with those that menace law-abiding citizens.

“While acknowledging their efforts and sacrifices of lives and limb, we therefore urge our military, police and other security agencies to ensure coordinated actions and intensify simultaneous kinetic operations against these terrorists until they are decimated to the point of surrender.”

The Kaduna State Government appeals to the Federal Government to create a Theatre Command similar to the situation in the North-East to confront the insurgency that has clearly emerged in five states of the North-West and Niger State with continuous and contiguous forest ranges.

“The creation of such a Theatre Command will enable holistic approach to counter-insurgent operations across the six affected states and the enhanced coordination of the resources of the Armed Forces, the Police, the SSS, our respective State Vigilance Services, hunters and other local volunteers to fight the insurgents” he said.

The governor appreciated the efforts of Emirs and Chiefs for being the leading and influential anchors of peaceful coexistence in their various communities. “Our Peace Commissioners and the House of Kaduna Family deserve exceptional recognition and our gratitude.

“We are grateful to the security agencies, particularly the Army, Air Force, Navy, Police, Civil Defence, SSS, our State Vigilance Service and KASTLEA for constant collaboration with our Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs in the hard work of securing the state.”