Recent acts of banditry, especially in the eastern part of Sokoto State, have tampered with the peace and tranquillity erstwhile taken for granted in the state.
In several organised night attacks across over 60 villages recently, these bandits attempted to overrun the state, but for the timely intervention of the Governor of the state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Shocked by the level of carnage by the bandits, Gov. Tambuwal quickly mobilised security operatives in a joint rapid response reconnaissance operation across the state, especially around areas invaded by the bandits. Results were swift. Many of the bandits were arrested and are now awaiting trial.
Addressing the State Executive Council (SEC) in May, Gov. Tambuwal vowed that things must be done differently in Sokoto concerning security, and announced that a new security mechanism would be introduced in the state.
Under the new plan, which is novel in the country, he said all hands, resources and institutions would be mobilised to ensure that rising incidents of insecurity were nipped in the bud.
He said the security mechanism would ensure swift response by security outfits, intelligence gathering by the people, led by the traditional institutions and youth groups, to advise and support deployment by security outfits in the state.
Other planks on which the new security mechanism will stand are regular and wide consultation of stakeholders, launch of a new state vigilante outfit and intelligence sharing by security outfits.
It was in following the security mechanism that Gov. Tambuwal held frank and incisive consultative meetings with youths and traditional rulers across the state recently.
Gov. Tambuwal said the meeting was part of government’s response mechanism to banditry and kidnapping.
Unveiling other salient aspects of the new security architecture to students and youth leaders, Gov. Tambuwal said the youths must own and drive the new policy to avoid a repeat of the nocturnal attacks by the bandits in the state.
The governor promised at the parley that his administration would fulfil all of its own aspects within a record time.
At a recent ceremony in Sokoto, Gov. Tambuwal inaugurated 98 specially formatted pick-up vehicles for distribution to security agencies in the state, and added 15 a few days later, to improve their abilities to safeguard lives and property in the state.
Another novel idea canvassed by Gov. Tambuwal is the establishment of a legal framework to compel landlords to keep a record of tenants in their houses or buildings. This also requires a very strong association of tenants.
The governor said he was convinced that Federal Government would provide additional training and functional logistics for its security agencies in the state to assist the officers and men carry out their constitutional mandates effectively.
For in the wisdom of the crafters of the 1999 Constitution, most of the security agencies are domiciled operationally in the Federal Government.
And although states have a lot to do, they are hamstrung by the limits imposed on them by the constitution.
In addition, he argued that the time had come for the Federal Government to recruit more personnel to fill gaps in the security sector of the country.
This will not be the first time Gov. Tambuwal would be drawing attention to the need for a total overhaul of the security architecture of the country.
Addressing the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Sokoto in 2018, long before the recent wave of banditry in the state, he called for the creation of state police to complement what the police were doing.
Consultation and advocacy are two strong vehicles on which Gov. Tambuwal plans to rest the success of his new security mechanism. As a result, a comprehensive list of consultative meetings with all stakeholders in the state has been drawn up.
The ones with traditional rulers and youths and students have taken place. So also is that with the federal leadership, led by President Buhari.
Satisfied with the outcome of the meeting recently in Abuja with Mr. President, Gov. Tambuwa returned to Sokoto and assured the citizens of the state of the president’s pledge and commitment to fighting insecurity in the state.
President Buhari recently dispatched the leadership of the entire security agencies to visit the state and assess progress.
The governor described the visit as a “soothing balm” that will “send some signal to our people that Mr. President has indeed promised, is responding and considering our appeals to him when I visited some weeks back.”
He assured that his administration would work closely with the police to ensure the success of community policing. This was at the inauguration of the state’s Community Policing Advisory Committee.
Tambuwal had earlier declared that the state would “collaborate with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for full implementation and success of community policing.”
Anselm Okolo is a journalist in Abuja – @ firstname.lastname@example.org