• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Strengthening sustainable security network in Nasarawa

As the saying goes, that ‘no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of rancour’, it is a statement of fact, because once there is unrest or violence in a community, the attention of the government is always shifted to how to return peace and stability to the troubled community.

This, however, means that, at such a moment of unrest, where lives were lost, properties destroyed and people fled their homes, every development initiative, project and programme to be, and is embarked upon by either public and private institutions is or are halted for peace to return.

In such a distressing situation, the government, in particular, is left with no option but to mobilise financial resources, machinery and operatives to ensure law and order return to the troubled area.

In the end, the government is again left with the responsibility of providing immediate interventions to rebuild the ruined community, ensuring the people return to their homes and/or compensating victims of the crisis to cushion the adverse effects on them, as well as engaging them through conflict resolution mechanisms for lasting peace and unity.

Undeniably, despite government interventions, huge investments and supports to resuscitate victims of the crisis and return normalcy to the troubled community, the people are always at a loss, as the monies invested for the return of peace could have taken care of development projects in the community instead of maintaining peace.

In other words, a crisis as such poses a major setback to the people and the affected community, which comes with huge consequences, hence the saying, that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of rancour. This is why peace is priceless.

It is in recognition of this fact that Governor Abdullahi Sule, on assumption into office on May 29, 2019, places security atop his administration’s policy thrusts, aimed at engendering good governance and providing quality service to the people of the state.

It is important to note that the attention of the state government in the last three years is centred on building a sustainable security network, reducing the heightening fears and tension and creating an enabling atmosphere for businesses to thrive in the state.

Much emphasis on security is on the fact that should any part of the state be immersed in a crisis of any kind, and with the current wave of insecurity ravaging the country, it will in no small measure disrupt and jeopardised his administration’s agenda to deliver purposeful service to the people of the state.

Nasarawa State Governor handing key to patrol venicles the military
Nasarawa State Governor handing key to patrol venicles the military

And thus far, the governor has succeeded in changing the security narrative by ensuring the state witness, to a large extent, less threat to lives and properties.

It is important to stress that, since the inception of Governor Sule’s administration, there was no case of communal, religious or political instability, as compared to the previous governments that hitherto, nearly turned the state into a war zone. At this point in the history of the state, Nasarawa was in the eye of the world for crises, and a red spot on the security map of the country.

With the template to curtail the activities of unscrupulous elements, it will be hard to believe that insecurity is not a threat to governance in Nasarawa State, as the administration of Governor Sule was always proactive and swiftly responded to cases of insecurity in the state.

Even though on a specific term, there are no security threats as such that eroded the progress and development of the state, it however not exempted utterly from pockets of insecurities in some parts of the state, majorly ranging from kidnapping for ransom, increased issue of missing persons, rape of minors, farmers’/herders’ clashes, and cases of housebreaking.

In as much as Nasarawa is not among the worst heat states seriously submerged by security challenges, as the scenarios in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna, and Plateau among other states in the Northwest, the state government is therefore not resting on its oars to nip any security threat on the bud.

Hence why the state is put on the map of rancour-free, safest and peaceful states, and also is adjudged to be rated as one of the top best investment destinations in Nigeria. This is not in doubt going by the records of Governor Abdullahi Sule in the last three years.

As an industrialist, a business strategist, and given his background, as one coming from the organized private sector, Governor Sule quickly created a suitable policy, ensured security and a business-friendly environment that is attracting investors, who are now drivers of the state’s economic development activities.

He knows that the fulcrum of any development initiative, of which any investor can hold-on and conveniently invest his resources hinge on peace and serene nature for businesses to thrive. He knows that without this, his government will go nowhere, hence the strategies that made the state safer than ever for investors.

Governor Sule who brought to bear global best practices in the governance of the state, as well as building institutions and structures that is addressing the core needs of the people, noted that the panacea to achieving his administration’s goals was to focus on security and mutual coexistence of the people.

According to the governor, “As a matter of priority, we shall place special emphasis on the security of the State. Over the years, there has been a general scenario of recurring security breaches in some parts of the State. This situation has undermined progress in the State.

“It must be emphasised that security and peace constitute the very basic prerequisite for overall socio-economic development. In the absence of a secured environment, there will be no investment inflow, locally or internationally, very much needed for the establishment of industries. Industrial growth is a valuable vista for overall human development.

“Indeed, development partners will only key into the State’s developmental agenda if there is an atmosphere of peace and order. Commercial and agricultural activities which are the mainstay of our local economy can only thrive in a rancour-free environment. Our strategy for addressing the security challenges will be to eliminate the problems of idleness, low level of education, misinformation, rumour mongering, ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry.

“Accordingly, we will consolidate on the existing community-based conflict resolution mechanism and continue to maintain effective synergy with all Security Agencies in the State.”

Patrol vehicles donated by Nasarawa State government
Patrol vehicles donated by Nasarawa State government

The above quotation is an excerpt from the inaugural speech of Governor Abdullahi Sule on May 29, 2019, which emphasizes security that is enabling smooth governance, stability, quality service to the people as well as attracting investments to the state.

Understandably, knowing the role of security in governance, the governor has never taken lightly the issue of security, as in every fora or public function, he harps more on the security of lives, being the primary role of his government.

Indeed, from the foregoing, it is apt to say that Governor Sule is matching words with action by translating his ideas into reality, whereby Nasarawa is massively experiencing rapid development that has transformed the state into an investment hub in just three years of stewardship as governor of the State.

In truth, no developer or investor will want to develop, invest or sink in his resources/money in a volatile area, hence the status the state has earned for itself.

However, the unwavering commitment of Engr. Sule’s government in tackling insecurity is evidence-based, with the people substantially enjoying a level of peace, and orderliness that cuts across the nook and crannies of the state.

One aspect that must be commended, as seen encouraged by the governor, was the increased collaboration between the various security agencies, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, leaders of the various ethnic nationalities and the people. This is in recognition of the fact that a government cannot succeed in its quest in providing the desired service without peace and the people.

It is on this note that the governor, on assumption into office, firstly took a step and initiated a peace and security meeting with the government and stakeholders of Benue, Taraba and Plateau states. This is aside from the Northcentral security summit, hosted by the state government in Lafia, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the unrest in the region. The summit drew participants from the six north-central states, including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. At the summit, there were far-reaching decisions taken on how to mitigate the spate and escalating security situation in the states of the middle belt.

In addition to this, governor Sule initiated a biweekly Expanded Security Meeting, where he interfaces with traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, and heads of the various security agencies in the state, which helps in brainstorming and reviewing the security situations in the state, as well as enabling proactive response to security breaches before it occurs.

The Governor held several meetings with his Benue state counterpart, Samuel Ortom, where they appreciably digested the prevailing security situation between the Tiv farmers and Fulani herders at the border communities of the two states, which resulted in the relative peace experienced at the border communities, as the people now go about their normal activities without fear of attack.

Read also: We’ve beefed up security in schools ahead of resumption – FG

Also, the inauguration of the Nasarawa State Boundary Commission, headed by Ibrahim Aliyu as its chairman was another step taken to checkmate the crisis at the border communities across the state. The inauguration of the board was indeed an end to the rising waves of crisis experienced within the borders communities of the state.

Another credit that must go to the governor in the effort to secure the state, was the dislodgement of the Daru-salam terrorists’ sect from their hideout in the forest area of Toto Local Government, who fled from Zanfara, Kaduna, Niger and other North-west states to Nasarawa to take up refuge there. Their presence in the forest was a huge threat to the government and people of the state, hence the steps were taken by the state government to stop the fleeing terrorists, who specialized in mass destruction, kidnapping and offensive invasion.

As part of the commitment to guarantee necessary safety to shelter the investment of willing investors and the lives of Nasarawa citizens, the governor has established additional security bases in Nasarawa, Toto, Doma, Nasarawa-Eggon, Lafia governments and other parts of the state, all in attempt to complement the existing outfits, totalling about sixteen security camps in the state.

Some of the security formations established in the last three years included the following; the air force base in Lafia, the mobile police training college, Endehu hills in Nasarawa-Eggon, the 4 Special Force Command Doma, Special Joint Military Operation with the code name Ayem Akpatuma, 123 Special force Battalion in Doma, Two Military Supper camps in Mararaba-Udege in Nasarawa and Kanyehu in Toto local government areas of the state.

Also, in the bid to ease their operations, through intelligence gathering and networking to avert the likely breakdown of law and order, the state government has provided logistic support to the various security formations and agencies in the state. Some of which included Toyota Hilux van, operational base, solar power boreholes, spring mattresses, generating sets, motorcycles, provision of perimeter excavation and lots more, especially in some camps to boost their morale and efficiency in the fight against crime and criminality in the state.

This was even as the state government had in 2018 donated N200 million as part of its contribution for the construction of the military camps in Nasarawa and Toto, while the sum of N10 million was approved as a monthly allocation for the upkeep of the two super camps. The efforts by the governor were geared towards securing the state and lives of the people, to make it governable and attractive to willing investors.

Another milestone recorded by the administration of Engr. Sule was the inauguration of the state Community Policing Advisory Council, otherwise known as community volunteer guards, who are playing a complementary role to other security agencies, in the efforts to flush out criminal elements out of the state. The support to NAYES and the vigilante group by the governor to operate in the state is highly commendable.

For the people in Toto, especially the Bassa/Igbira ethnic groups, who were seeing each other as enemies, where the people take turns revenge over land ownership, chieftaincy and political issues, which existed even before the present democratic dispensation, was almost an unending crisis. But the effort of Governor Sule’s administration in returning some of the fled Bassa group to Toto is gradually yielding fruit, as peace talks have since begun with leaders of the two warring groups.

It is worthy of note that, both senator Abdullahi Adamu and Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, all former governors of the state did their best at the gallery of peace, with a commitment that anyone who embraces the idea of intermarriage among the two warring groups will be empowered with N500, 000, alongside other rewards. The commitment however, yielded no result, as the crisis persisted.

Senator Adamu who attempted to return the Bassa people, aside from the intermarriage incentive failed, as the prolonged conflict to date chased the people out of their ancestral homes.

Gracefully, the administration of governor Sule, whose focus is on security, is working round the clock to earnestly resolve the lingering issues, which will signal a new dawn in Toto, even as those who fled their homes for fear of attack are beginning to return home. The governor aims to return Toto and its people to its former glory through mutual dialogue.

To say the least, the last three years of Governor Sule’s administration were rewarding, as the state within the period under review attracted an estimated domestic and foreign investments of over $500 million, largely because of the peace the state is experiencing and its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The governor who is building a sustainable security network hopes to secure the state in such a way that will encourage industrial growth, ensure economic prosperity, and infrastructural development as well as attract more foreign and local investments in the state.

Industrial growth, economic development, the building of infrastructures, and the attraction of foreign and local investments have been recorded, and much more is yet to be achieved if the security situation in the state will be conducive enough

However, for the attainment of peace and safety of lives and property, there is a need for the government of Engr. Sule to give more attention and supports to the various security operations, including the recently inaugurated community volunteer guards and the vigilante group in the state to stem the tide of kidnapping, armed-, robbery attacks

On the whole, it is important to note that the state is today celebrating the sustenance of peace and tranquility, which credit must be given to the industrial governor, whose strategic approach has made it possible for the realisation of peace in the state.