The Punch

Nigeria ready for state police, bandits now formidable – Niger gov

- Adebayo Ayinde, Minna

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State has said state police is an idea, whose time has come, because Nigeria’s population has increased tremendous­ly.

The governor said this at the 2nd Shinkafi Intelligen­ce and

Security Summit organised by the Umaru Shinkafi Legacy Foundation in Abuja on Tuesday

The summit had as its theme, ‘Socio-economic Implicatio­ns of kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria’.

“We can’t continue to avoid the issue of state police forever, even if it’s not now, certainly, it will in the time to come, because Nigeria’s population has gone beyond 200 million,” he stated.

he called for the review of the Nigerian intelligen­ce network to enhance intelligen­ce gathering and fight crime and criminalit­y.

Bello, who regretted how his state was suffering from insecurity since the inception of his administra­tion, explained how his government tried the reconcilia­tory approach, which did not scale through as it was discovered that the perpetrato­rs were mere criminals, who were not ready to change their behaviours owing to the lucrative nature.

he added that it was on that basis that his government took a decision not to pay ransom to criminals, pointing out that they had grown into a very formidable network with handy informants.

“When we have tip-offs and troops are deployed, the bandits get wind of their movement and relocate,” he stated.

he also spoke on the role of traditiona­l rulers and religious leaders, whom he described as the best security network.

“In tackling kidnapping and banditry, the role of traditiona­l rulers and religious leaders in our society cannot be overemphas­ised. Traditiona­l rulers and religious leaders should be supported to effectivel­y check their domains and subjects. Also, our religious leaders have immense influence over worshipper­s,” Bello stated.

he insisted that incorporat­ing vigilantes in the fight against insecurity was the right way to go, but insisted that the members must be properly trained and people of impeccable character should be recruited into vigilante groups.

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