The Federal Government has directed traditional rulers in the North to start community policing and establish local security councils in their domains to tackle banditry and other security crises in the region.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who met with the expanded executive council of the northern traditional rulers at the Arewa House in Kaduna State on Tuesday, noted that the government needed “community policing in your various domains so that more information about criminal elements can be obtained in real time.”
The council is headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.
In his address obtained by one of our correspondents after the event, Dan-Ali warned the Emirs and other rulers about casting aspersions on security agencies, adding that this would complicate security issues and slow down the tempo of operation.
He said, “Some of the potent security threats that can truncate the relative peace include: banditry, hostage-taking and cattle rustling. These ugly trends are on a daily basis claiming lives and property of citizens and have continued to be sources of concern and fear to our citizens.
“There is the need for recruitment of sufficient local informants who will be procuring vital intelligence on the activities of the bandits; including their location, strength, leadership and sponsors, among others. Additionally, infiltration and penetration of the group will go a long way in providing meaningful insight into how to solve the problems.
“Of course, the community leaders who are living with the people are in the know of these bandits. They know their place of abode, the weapons they acquire, their leadership strength among others.
“I, therefore, request you to reactivate the traditional community policing in your various domains so that more information about criminal elements can be obtained in real time. In this regard, there is the need for the establishment of a local government security council.
“The recent statement made by my Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, was not meant to discredit this august gathering but to serve as a warning to some community leaders that are bent on sabotaging the effort and commitment of the armed forces.”
The minister noted that the government was considering special courts to give speedy trial to those arrested for terrorism, kidnapping and banditry.
“The recent claim by my emirs (on civilians killed in air strikes) needs to be looked into. It is high time that, as a country, we had special courts to give speedy trial to those arrested for terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry and cross-border crimes,” Dan-Ali said.