The Federal Government, as part of efforts to stop killing and kidnapping by herdsmen, plans to install closed circuit television cameras on the highways in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this during a closed-door meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja with the South-West traditional rulers led by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Buhari, who stated that the country’s security architecture would be restructured, also said drones would be deployed in areas worst hit by banditry and kidnapping in collaboration with state governments.
“Working with the state governments also, we intend to beef up the equipping of the police force with advanced technology and equipment that can facilitate the work of the security agencies.
States to get approval for drones
“I will be issuing directives to the appropriate federal authorities to speedily approve licensing for states requesting the use of drones to monitor forests and other criminal hideouts. We also intend to install CCTVs on highways and other strategic locations so that activities in some of those hidden places can be exposed, more effectively monitored and open to actionable review.
Air Force to bomb criminals’ locations
“We will equally continue to bring in our military when needed to complement the work of the police including possible deployment of troops on certain highways on a temporary basis, and the use of the Air Force assets to bomb hideouts where criminals are located.
He sought the cooperation of traditional rulers to monitor different communities.
Monitor new comers in your community, Buhari urges Obas
“We hope that, for instance, traditional rulers would be able to observe new entrants into the community by requesting leaders of such ethnic groups to notify the traditional authorities of intakes, thereby creating the opportunities for the gathering of actionable intelligence which tracks such movements in and out of communities thereby offering early warning signals.
“Some of these interventions include an expedited commencement of community policing, a robust revamping of police intelligence gathering capacity and the significant boosting of the numbers of security personnel in our local communities.”
Speaking with State House Correspondents later, the Ooni confirmed the President’s promises on security plans.
“Today, the Inspector-General of Police (Mr Mohammed Adamu) was present and the entire security architecture will be restructured. We are very happy about that”, the Ooni told State House Correspondents as the meeting ended, disclosing the resolutions taken at the session.
As part of the new security measures being planned for the South-West, Ogunwusi stated that the President informed them that CCTV cameras and drones would soon be deployed in the S’West to combat banditry and kidnapping.
He spoke further,
“We were also told about community policing. The policemen will be recruited from the community; those who were born there, brought up there, and they won’t be able to move them around.
“So, we can use that strategy to avert a lot of tension going around the South-West in particular now. We were able to achieve that milestone.
“Another milestone we achieved is that Mr President will fast-track monitoring of our forests by using the technology of modern standard, the drones. The various security agencies will rally round the IG and see how it can be properly deployed.
“We believe that with all these, there will be reduction in the tension in the South-West because the South-West is very sensitive in Nigeria. We don’t pray for crisis or war or uprising because it will snowball into a lot of things. That is why we are all represented from the six states that make up the South-West of Nigeria.”
The Ooni observed that one positive aspect of community policing was that it was left to the communities to be involved, as against allowing politicians alone to take decisions.
“The problem has been if you take police officers to the North, within six months they will shift them to another place in the South. They are not domiciled there and so any time they get there, they depend on the vigilantes, community heads, the Mogajis, the Baales, and all the districts heads, so why can’t you give the jobs to the families of the Mogajis, the Baales, and all the district heads? “So, it is a different re-jigging and I can assure you the government is very serious now.”
The monarch was further asked whether the South-West still stood by its position that the Fulani herders should leave the region, and he replied that the people wanted the “bad ones” among them to leave.
Bad Fulani must leave – Yoruba obas
“We all live in Nigeria; it is the bad ones that have come in from different borders that are porous, those are the ones we will focus on to separate the corn from the wheat.”
Ogunwusi stressed the point,
“We are staying the bad ones should leave. The bad ones can never stay, even Mr President is with us on that. Even the Fulani clan does not want the bad ones to spoil their name. So many people are hiding under the Fulani to do evil now. So, the bad ones must go.”
Two weeks ago, the Ooni had met with the President over insecurity in the South-West.
He said the zone demanded the tightening of security over lives and property in the zone, while also insisting that bad eggs among the Fulani herders must leave the South-West.
Assembly asks Obaseki to arm forest guards
In Edo State, the state House of Assembly has asked the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to employ armed forest guards and the vigilantes to curb the menace of herdsmen in the state.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Yekini Idiaye while moving a motion on the menace of herdsmen attacks in Akoko Edo part of the state, asked the state government to employ armed forest guards to flush out the criminals.
He also asked the state governor in collaboration with the local governments to set up the Edo Vigilante Corps to complement the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
Idaiaye lamented that the herdsmen had sacked many farmers in Akoko Edo from their farms and even took over their villages to settle there.
Herdsmen have taken over Akoko Edo villages – Lawmaker
“The majority of the vast farm settlements have been taken over by herdsmen who maim, kidnap and kill our people on a regular basis. The Akoko Edo people no longer go to farms for fear of being attacked by criminal herdsmen, thereby bringing untold hardships on our people. The people of Akoko Edo are peasant farmers who go about their business with a view to making daily living, but now that is no longer possible,” he said.
The motion followed the kidnapping on Sunday of a former chairman of the Akoko Edo National Union of Local Government Employees, Mr Jimoh Olumoye, on the way to farm.
S’East govs clear roadside bushes
There were indications on Wednesday that the South-East Governors’ Forum had begun moves to establish Forest Guards they planned to establish.
The governors had on Sunday after a meeting in Enugu, said they would establish Forest Guards in all the states in the zone with a centre for South-East Integrated Security Monitoring/ Intelligence Gathering sited in Enugu.
However, The PUNCH gathered that the governors had started the implementation with the clearing of bushes 50 metres on roadsides in the zone to allow motorists to have a clear view of the roads they plied.
One of our correspondents learnt that the Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of the forum had commenced the clearing of roads that linked Ebonyi with other states in the zone.
Sources at the governors’ meeting on Sunday, told The PUNCH that the neighbourhood watch groups in all the states would be recruited into the new forest guards.
When the Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Mr Michael Udah, was contacted on the modalities for the setting up of the forest guards, he stated in a text message, “Those details were not discussed at the meeting. Please restrict your report/s to what is in the communique.”