Opinion: Sokoto  Renewed Commitments Towards Sustainable Peace

Photo: Governor Ahmed Aliyu of Sokot

The recent rescue of over 50 victims kidnapped from various villages and communities in Sokoto state has showcased the commitment of the present administration towards restoring peace and order in the banditry-infected parts of the state.

The rescued victims include nursing mothers and their babies, children, adolescent girls, and elderly people, some of whom were said to have been abducted in the neighboring states and moved to a forest in Tangaza local government area where they were held captive for months.

This was the first time a large number of abductees were rescued in a single operation by the Nigerian Army, and this was attributed to the support they have been receiving from the state government.

Presenting the victims to Governor Ahmed Aliyu at the Government House chamber, the Garrison Commander of the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Alexander Tawasimi, noted that the victims were rescued as part of the ongoing operation in the area.

He mentioned that some of the victims were held captive for months, adding that several weapons and motorcycles were recovered during the operation.

He thanked Governor Aliyu and his government for their sustained support to the army, assuring him that they would continue to do their best to restore peace in the state.

“With the kind of support and cooperation we have been getting from your government, we are very optimistic that wherever these bandits are, we will locate and dislodge them,” he reassured.

Responding, the Governor expressed gratitude to the army for their sustained gallantry in the state, which led to the rescue of the victims.

“We are very grateful. I salute your courage, effort, and commitment. Keep it up.

“We will continue to encourage you with all the necessary support to sustain the tempo,” Aliyu said.

He appealed to the people of the state to support security operatives with vital information that would help them in their operations.

He, however, donated 100,000 and three bags of grains to each of the rescued victims, just as he directed the Commissioner of Health to take them to the hospital for proper check-up and treatment.

It would be recalled that Governor Aliyu had during his campaigns unveiled a 9-Smart point agenda with security topping the list because of the volatility of the state, which has been terrorized by bandits since 2016.

Before coming on board, the entire eastern part of the state, which constituted eight local governments, was embedded by insecurity. The common happenings there were mass abduction for ransom, killings, and maiming of innocent citizens of the state.

According to the media report (Daily Trust), over 30 communities were sacked in Sabon Birni alone in 2022 while the state Emergency Management Agency confirmed that over 200,000 people had been displaced, with a significant number of them taking refuge in the neighboring Niger Republic.

There were some roads and local markets that had to be closed because following or participating in them amounted to committing suicide, while most of the boarding schools in these areas have remained closed till today with the immediate past government doing little or nothing to salvage the situation.

Upon resuming office, Aliyu wasted no time in appointing Colonel Ahmed Usman (rtd), who is generally considered a “capable hand” because of his pedigree in the Nigerian Army, as his Special Adviser on Security. Since then, regular security meetings have been maintained with a view to articulating ways of ending banditry and insecurity.

In their inaugural meeting, the Governor was shocked to know that allowances of security operatives fighting bandits in the state had not been paid for months and, without mincing words, ordered for its immediate restoration.

He also promised to provide logistic support to the operatives, which he did. During his 100 days in office celebration, 80 brand new patrol vehicles, comprising Toyota Buffalos and Hilux, were unveiled by the visiting Vice President, Senator Kashim Shattima.

Similarly, a draft bill on the establishment of Sokoto Community Guards is currently at the State House of Assembly for consideration.

The bill is aimed at having well-trained state-owned local guards who will work alongside conventional security operatives to fight insecurity in the state. Members of the guards will be recruited from local government areas, especially those facing security challenges.

This initiative has been generally hailed by the people of the state, although they cautioned the committee to be saddled with the responsibility of recruiting the guards to ensure only people with proven integrity and character are selected.

A renowned Islamic cleric, Malam Nura Hansare, also commended the renewed commitment of the state government in tackling insecurity.

In a short video clip that trended on social media platforms, Hansare noted that, “from what we have seen so far, this government is trying its best to end insecurity in our dear state.

“Just recently, security operatives rescued 51 victims who had been in captivity for long. And this was made possible because of the support they are getting from the state government.

“We want this tempo sustained. The state government should continue to liaise with the federal government and any relevant agencies and institutions to restore peace in the state because no amount of effort or resources spent on security can be considered a waste,” he said.

The Special Adviser on Security, Col. Usman, in a recent interview, said the state government, in collaboration with the security agencies, has been mapping out strategies to end the menace of Banditry and other security challenges in the state.

“The issue of security is something which we don’t want to disclose as doing so may jeopardize our efforts,” the retired Colonel stated.

According to the Governor’s aide, the ongoing military operations in the state have been recording tremendous success.

“But we decided to keep it to ourselves for some obvious reasons. Even this one (51 rescued victims) is only made public in order to silence those who have been making noise that the state government is spending a lot on security without a commensurate result,” he said.

We pray Allah (SWA) to continue to provide the Governor, his lieutenants, and the security operatives with the wisdom and ability to restore peace in our dear state.

This is written by Malam Sa’idu Ibrahim of Arkilla area in Wamakko local government of Sokoto state.

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