STF urges calm over re­de­ploy­ment of soldiers in Plateau Nigeria, Niger meet over wa­ter re­sources

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Lami Sadiq, Jos From Abubakar Auwal, Sokoto

The Spe­cial Task Force (STF) in Plateau State yes­ter­day dis­missed fears over the re­de­ploy­ment of some soldiers man­ning var­i­ous check­points in Jos city, adding that the move was aimed at check­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of cat­tle rustlers in the hin­ter­land.

Daily Trust ob­served that check­points around ma­jor ar­eas in the city such as Lamingo, Do­gon Dutse, and Gan­gare which used to be manned by soldiers of the STF have now been re­placed by mo­bile po­lice per­son­nel and mem­bers of the Nige­rian Se­cu­rity and Civil De­fence Corps (NSCDC). The STF Me­dia and In­for­ma­tion Of­fi­cer, Cap­tain Ikedichi Iweha, said some of the soldiers were on spe­cial as­sign­ments in var­i­ous vil­lages in the state in an ef­fort to check cat­tle rustling.

Iweha ex­plained that the mo­bile po­lice men and the civil de­fence per­son­nel are part of the STF and the force is in­creas­ing its ac­tiv­i­ties in the hin­ter­land to check the men­ace.

“The with­drawal of soldiers in town is very light be­cause we still have soldiers strate­gi­cally placed in ma­jor check points and re­sponse to any emer­gency will be swift and pre­cise,” he said.

He added that the fact that some check­points are now manned by the mo­bile po­lice and civil de­fence is an in­di­ca­tion of the re­turn of peace in Jos but as­sured the pub­lic of enough soldiers in all sec­tors and ac­tive dis­tress num­bers. Nigeria and Niger Repub­lic are hold­ing talks in Sokoto aimed at re­solv­ing prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with the shar­ing of com­mon wa­ter re­sources be­tween the two coun­tries in line with the 1998 bi­lat­eral agree­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Com­mis­sion for Co­op­er­a­tion, Am­bas­sador Ab­dul-Jalil Abubakar, the meet­ing was con­vened to re­solve prob­lems re­lat­ing to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ment.

“The Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Re­sources in one of their meet­ings with his Nige­rien coun­ter­part de­cided that ex­perts should come and look at the prob­lems with the aim of re­solv­ing them diplo­mat­i­cally. This is why we are here. We want the com­mon wa­ter to be shared equally,” he said.

Abubakar said two dams were in Niger while two are in Nigeria and when they vis­ited some of them they dis­cov­ered that they had dried up, which is one of the causes of the prob­lems. Also speak­ing at the meet­ing Gover­nor Aliyu Wa­makko said the res­o­lu­tion is long over­due be­cause of the eco­nomic im­por­tance of the agree­ment to both coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the prob­lem has been on for close to 20 years now and be­cause of its diplo­matic na­ture it has to go through this mech­a­nism.

“Niger Repub­lic con­structed a dam in Zango just close to Kwani that has im­pounded wa­ter and re­fused to al­low it pass to Kar­malo lake and as such farm­ers in the area be­came idle. The same thing with the Jibiya dam in Katsina State which af­fected the dis­charge of wa­ter to en­hance hy­dro­log­i­cal bal­ance in parts of Niger Repub­lic,” he said.

The other rea­son of the meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to the gover­nor who was rep­re­sented by the Com­mis­sioner, Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, Muham­madu Jabbi Kil­gori was to fine tune ways of get­ting sup­port from the African De­vel­op­ment Bank to re­vive the dry­ing dams. He added that Sokoto State and Nigeria stand to gain a lot from the project as it would en­hance food pro­duc­tion, rev­enue gen­er­a­tion and so­cioe­co­nomic growth.

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