By Musa Ilallah
It is now crystal clear that some of the country’s leaders, notably the Executive Governors of some Northern states have decided to take the bull by the horn by taking some unique homegrown measures to support the Federal might in dealing with security challenges.
Such Governors include Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Aminu Masari of Katsina and Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna.
Regretably, some state Governors, rather than taking steps to support the Federal Government’s fight against insecurity, have resorted to sabotaging such efforts but going ahead to always blaming the Federal Government for any breach of security in their domains.
Such Governors include Samuel Ortom of Benue, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Darius Ishaku of Taraba among others.
Disturbed by running governments with their subjects living in constant fear of their lives, livelihoods and property, the Governors recently rolled out measures to suffocate bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, other criminals and their collaborators in the society.
From all indications, such recent approaches aimed at restoring peace to their states so as to give a final blow to criminals will achieve the desired result only if the people fully endorse and support them.
Though such tough measures will come with their negative consequences on the people, I have no doubt in my mind that such actions are well intended to further address the challenges.
In his strategy to deal with incessant and worsening attacks on schools and communities in Zamfara State, Governor, Bello Matawalle announced a five-pronged approach to put a stop to providing logistics support to bandits and kidnappers in the Zamfara forests.
Such measures include the closure of all weekly markets across the State; banning the sale of petrol in jerry cans, Petrol stations in the state to sell only N10,000 fuel to each vehicle and be vigilant of vehicles or motorcycles coming for repeat purchases immediately; ban on commercial motorcycle riders carrying three persons at a time and reducing the operations of commercial motorcycles and tricycles between 6:00am and 8:00pm in the State capital, while outside the State capital is between 6:00am and 6:00pm.
However, essential services providers, including healthcare personnel, security men and Journalists who identify themselves are allowed to ride motorcycle or tricycle beyond the stated time.
Other measures are banning the transportation of cows and firewood through out the State, while movement of food items must be thoroughly investigated to ensure it does not get to bandits.
To ensure compliance, the Governor has directed that “all citizens must comply with the new directives or face the full wrath of the law and the public must report any person found breaching the directives”.
On his part, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, whose state is also infiltrated by bandits and other criminals, signed 10 executive orders as part of measures to combat both kinetic and non-kinetic security challenges in the state.
According to Tambuwal, “some parts of the State have been bedevilled by insecurity as a result of armed banditry which has led to huge loss of lives and properties as well as undermined free movement of people, goods and services in the affected areas.”
Addressing a press conference, the state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Isah Bajini, said that the orders were signed following wide consultations with all stakeholders and constituted authorities as well as security and law enforcement agencies.
Justifying the action of government, the Governor explained that it is on the need to introduce additional countervailing measures in the affected areas in order to contain banditry and mitigate the damages it is causing to social, economic activities and preservation of peace.
The 10 executive orders are immediate total closure of Isa–Marnona Road to all motorists until further notice, but that travellers plying the road are advised to use Goronyo-Sabon Birni axis; prohibiting lorries/trucks or other vehicles carrying firewood from the forests; Suspension of the sale of all animals at the markets in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas; Prohibition of transportation of cattle using trucks/lorries in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas; prohibition of carrying three persons on motorcycles and more than three passengers on a tricycle throughout the State;
Prohibition of the sale of second-hand motorcycles at Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe , Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta, Achida, Gande, Gwadabawa and Wurno Markets and prohibition of operation of commercial tricycles and motorcycles from 10pm-6am in the State capital, and from 6pm-6am in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Gwadabawa, Ilela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas.
The rest are prohibition of the sale of petrol in jerry cans at filling stations while only designated filling stations are allowed to sell petrol and diesel of not more than N5,000 to motorists in Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah, Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno Local Governments Areas and only authorized essential workers like health workers, security personnel and Journalists could use tricycles and motorcycles beyond the banned periods.
In its response to nip in the bud the acitivities of bandits across the length and breadth of Katsina State,
Governor Aminu Bello Masari signed into law the Security Challenges 12 point Containment Order with a view to closing some of the security gaps in the State among which is the total ban on the transportation of cattle from Katsina State to any State in the country; banning trucks/lorries from carrying firewood from the bush; banning sale of animals at Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Danmusa, Kankara, Malumfashi, Charanchi, Mai’adua, Kafur, Faskari, Sabuwa, Baure, Dutsinma markets and Kaita Local Government Areas and banning the sale of second-hand motorcycles at Charanchi market and the carrying of 3 persons on motorcycles as well as carrying more than 3 passengers on a tricycle.
In addition, the Security Challenges Containment Order also imposed a total closure on Jibia-Gurbi Baure road to all motorists, with travellers plying the road to use alternative Funtua road until further notice and the closure of Kankara-Sheme road to all commercial vehicles who are similarly advised to go through Funtua and private non-commercial vehicles may ply the road if they wish.
Furthermore, the Order also limits the sale of fuel of not more than N5,000 to motorists at only two designated filling stations in Jibia, Batsari, Safana, Danmusa, Zaka kara, Faskari, Sabha, Dandume, Musawa, Matazu, Dutsinma, Kurfi, Danja and Kafur Local Government Areas, even as it reinforces the prohibition of the sale of petrol in jerry cans at filling stations.
The Order reinforced the ban on the operation of commercial tricycles and motorcycles from 10am-6am in the State capital and 6pm-6am in the Front Line Local Government Areas.
The Order, however, permits identified essential health and security personnel and journalists to use tricycles and motorcycles beyond the banned periods.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el Rufai has joined his colleagues to put in place measures that are likely going to truncate the activities of bandits and kidnappers in the state. In addition to banning transportation of livestock , sale of petrol in jerry cans, the
Kaduna State Government after wider consultations and thorough security reviews, has slso banned the transportation of livestock from the State to other states in the country snd vice versa, banned the transportation of donkeys into the state, describing it as a criminal offence and anyone found engaging in it will be prosecuted accordingly.
‘’Furthermore, the Kawo weekly market which usually holds every Tuesday in Kaduna North LGA has been suspended with immediate effect’’, the government said.
The Government of Kaduna State had also suspended weekly markets, and selling of petrol in jerrycans in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi and Kajuru LGAs, as well as banning the felling of trees for timber, firewood and charcoal and other commercial purposes in Birnin Gwari, Kachia, Kajuru, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi and Kauru LGAs, are still in force.
And government has pledged that its directives will be vigorously enforced by security agencies in this regard.
While these measures are being pursued vigorously by state governments, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has ordered all telecom operators to shut down their networks in Zamfara State.
In one of the letters addressed to telecom operators, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Umar Dambatta said the action was one of the strategies taken by security operatives in curbing banditry ravaging the state.
“The pervading security situation in Zamfara State has necessitated an immediate shutting down of all telecommunications service in the state.”
The measure is to enable relevant security agencies carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state.
In conclusion, one can confidently say that the four Governors in the North West region have gone the extra mile to commit resources of the State and temporarily inconvenience their subjects with new initiatives to suffocate bandits in their forests.
For this unusual patriotic and humane approach to totally deal with such criminals in our midst, the Governors have demonstrated the needed governance skills needed to enhance peaceful living, progress and development of their subjects.
Giving them a pat on the back may therefore not be out of place so that they can do more to restore normalcy to their states.
Other state governors must also look inwards and adopt measures that will see a return to those good old days in the country.
Everything thing possible must be done to support the Federal Government flush out criminals in our villages, cities and forests. We must think out of the box to decisively deal with terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and all other crimes now militating against our growth and development as a nation.