How to end banditry in Nigeria — Security experts | Dailytrust

How to end banditry in Nigeria — Security experts

File photo of gunmen
File photo of gunmen

Some security experts have expressed views over the rising spate of insecurity in the country, especially banditry and have proffered solutions on the way out of the current situation.

A Kaduna-based security expert, Group Captain Sadeeq Garba Shehu (Rtd), said Nigeria was not spending enough on security.

Shehu, while speaking with Daily Trust on telephone, said the government needed to put in more resources to increase the human capacity of the military and provide equipment and training as a way of ending banditry in the country.

He advised that the government must also follow up on the money when appropriated, saying, “If the money is not followed, it could be misused or stolen.”

He further said, “It seems everybody is setting an agenda for the government without really specifying what should be done. If you recall, the National Assembly (NASS) has been calling on government to declare a state of emergency on security.

“Nigeria is not spending enough on its security; whether it is for the military, whether it is for the police or even for the intelligence services. This lack of spending enough commensurate with the security challenges is evident in the lack of capacity for our security agencies.

“In terms of numbers, they are not enough, in terms of equipment, there are not enough and in terms of training, we are lacking. So when you say a state of emergency, it means the government should devote more resources and put them in the military. Put the money to get more troops.

“If you look at the extent of land, the bandits in particular, let’s not even talk about Boko Haram, they do not go anywhere, they hide in the bushes around us because they have come to the conclusion that the government does not have enough security personnel to enter into those bushes.”

He added that, “Apart from numbers, the government needs to provide the military with equipment to enter these bushes and aircraft specially equipped with thermal cameras that can penetrate and pick body heat of human beings.

Terrorists move to North Central

Another security expert from Niger State, Dr Abdullahi Muhammed Jabi, who is the Secretary General of the International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), noted that with the impact the military had in the North East, the terrorists had relocated to the North Central.

Dr Jabi noted that Niger State provided a haven for them with its vast expanse of forests that were ungoverned; coupled with the failure of citizens to report suspicious movements.

He itemised the challenges of tackling banditry in the state to include inadequate personnel, obsolete equipment and failure of intelligence gathering by citizens who he said had been docile as they had not been security conscious, adding that security agents were not magicians who could detect strange movements of persons if citizens did not call their attention to them.

He advised that, “Our fallow forests that are not governed must be secured; we must raise citizens’ security participation in security awareness because their participation is in the ratio one to 4,000; which is way too low. They must participate by reporting strange movements in the environment and neighborhoods to the security for prompt action.”

Dr Jabi further said, “If we want them to be proactive, government needs to equip the security agencies with necessary equipment in terms of arms and ammunition and communication equipment, their welfare should be taken into consideration and there should be adequate funding for the frontline personnel fighting the war.”

He admonished Nigerians to keep hope alive as he was optimistic that the war would be won, adding that the perpetrators were there to cause mayhem in Nigeria and that they were supported by the international community.

He assured that his organisation was ready to partner with security agencies by providing useful information to them on happenings around motor parks, neighborhoods and others.

Daily Trust reports that banditry in Niger State which started like a play in a ward in Shiroro Local Government Area (LGA) had grown to what security experts describe as “full-blown terrorism”.

Bandits write to communities before attack

In recent times the bandits write to the communities before attacking them with no response from security agencies, according to sources in the affected communities.

This has led to humanitarian crises where so many have become homeless with thousands of children becoming orphans.

In Borno State, a retired soldier in Maiduguri who took part in various peace missions, Ali Mohammed, said the security personnel must join crime fighting with stamina and encompass residents in sourcing useful information.

Take fight to criminals’ hideouts 

Mohammed said troops must not wait until criminals stroke before they went after them and advised that “they should find their hideouts, take them on and fight to the finish.

“It is not logical for a lawman to have a time lag in the pursuit of criminal elements at all. It is expected that various means of information sharing techniques are adopted to trace the hideouts of criminals or crime scenes with a view to crushing the perpetrators. There may be civilian casualties in such operations, but definitely, those cases are unpremeditated, Mohammed said”

He said some of the attacks on military formations could be avoided if the insurgents were always placed under the military’s radar.

A retired Commissioner of Police (CP) is of the view that the use of intelligence in the fight against crime is the best option and noted that it required a lot of things, including manpower, preparation and finance.

The CP who would not want his name in print said the use of credible intelligence sources to counter criminals had always given security personnel tactical advantage.

He explained that, “Intelligence plays a vital role in preventing crime from happening, as well as hunting down suspects, including kidnappers, insurgents and their sponsors. One important thing authorities should note is that the capabilities of enforcement agencies must be strengthened and the input of the community should be welcomed and respected.”

From Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna), Romoke W. Ahmad (Minna) & Misbahu Bashir (Maiduguri)