*We must stop blame game, act – Govs
*Recruit special forces to fight bandits, Tambuwal tells FG
*Plans to deboard schools in Sokoto
Following the escalating insecurity in North west states, Sokoto State chapter of the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has given the Federal Government three months within which to resolve the security situation in the zone or face mass action.
Criminal activities, ranging from banditry, kidnapping to armed robbery, had escalated in the north west, resulting in the killing of hundreds of people.
The ultimatum came even as North-West Governors’ Forum said in its meeting on Wednesday that to have a banditry-free society, all stakeholders must show commitment at fighting the menace, and stop playing the blame game.
This is even as Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal asked the Federal Government to recruit special forces to fight bandits in their enclaves in the forest.
He also disclosed plans to deboard all schools in the state until the security situation was resolved.
Rising from a one-day stakeholders meeting in Sokoto yesterday, the coalition in a communique issued at the end of the meeting, said it had mobilised youths in states in north west to ground activities in the zone until government dealt with the problem of banditry and other violent crimes.Coordinator of CNG in the state, Isah Jabbi Usman, also blamed the activities of the outlawed volunteer vigilantes groups, known as Yan Sakai for the escalation of violence in most parts of the north western states.
He lamented the escalating insecurity, particularly in Sokoto and called for immediate action to address the situations once and for all.
The group faulted both the federal and state governments for not acting promptly to tame the situation at its initial stage.
‘’We hereby place the authorities on notice that if the killings and abductions are not significantly or totally controlled within the next three months, mass action would be called that will not prelude occupying all towns in all the frontline states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja,’’ Usman said.Similarly, the North-Western Governor’s Forum challenged stakeholders in the zone to show commitment to the efforts to wipe out banditry in the north west.
Chairman of the Forum, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, who threw the challenge when he led a delegation of the Forum on a condolence visit to Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC-Sokoto) in Abuja yesterday over the burning of over 40 persons in a bus by bandits in Sokoto last week said: “We were in Sokoto State earlier to sympathise with the government and immediate families of those who were brutally killed in the name of banditry.
“The issue of banditry in north western part of the country is not beyond us. We know the problem and the solutions are something we as a people are capable of providing.
“This will be, provided that all of us take responsibility and stop the blame game. Banditry, especially our own in the north western part of the country, can easily be dealt with, if all hands are put on deck.
“This is because it has no religious coloration, no ethnic coloration, it is not ideological. It is simply pure criminality.’’
While acknowledging that the Nigerian Police had limitations in fighting insecurity, Masari said security agencies required technologies to effectively tackle the challenge.
“We in the north western governor’s forum together with the governors of Plateau, Nasarawa and Niger are working with the Federal Government to come up with strategies and solutions,’’ he said.
Tambuwal on deboarding schools
Meanwhile, Governor Tambuwal said the state government was looking into the possibility of deboarding all boarding secondary schools in the state, pending when the security situation improved.
Tambuwal, who disclosed this in a media chat with journalists said the decision to deboard the schools was a result of constant and continued attacks by bandits and other criminal groups terrorising the state.“This situation calls for specialised approach with a holistic support from community groups, religious leaders and other individuals to tackle.”
On his part, Masari expressed his condolences to Sokoto state on the recent attacks by bandits, noting that measures are being put in place to address the situation.
“Bandits behave worse than animals in view of the atrocities they perpetrate; people need to protect themselves.
“Police and other security personnel are inadequate, so we shall not wait for those barbaric bandits to maim and kill people at random,” he said.
“We shall confront them and deal with them the way they are supposed to be dealt with. It is no longer a blame game, rather we shall shun political differences to support authorities on containing the situation.
”The governor also said the state government was looking into the possibility of deboarding all boarding secondary schools in the state, pending when the security situation improved.
Tambuwal, who disclosed this in a media chart with practising journalists in the state, said the decision to deboard the schools was a result of constant and continued attacks by bandits and other criminal groups terrorising the state.
He said the launching of operation Hadarin Daji by the Nigeria Armed forces had made Sokoto State vulnerable to attacks by fleeing bandits from Zamfara State, adding that the state had made available all needed assistance to the security agencies in the state, with a view to containing the activities of criminal gangs.