Enlist 774,000 youths from 774 LGs against bandits, El-Rufai tells FG

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The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has asked the Federal Government to declare bandits terrorising the North-West geo-political zone of the country as “insurgents or terrorists.”

The declaration, the governor said, would enable the nation’s military to attack and kill “these bandits without any major consequences in the international law.”

The governor spoke after receiving the third quarter security report from the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, in Kaduna on Wednesday.

He also said the recruitment of 1,000 youths from each of the 774 local government areas of the country would go a long way in tackling insecurity in parts of the country.

The commissioner had earlier in his report, said bandits killed no fewer than 343 and abducted 830 persons, as well as injured 210 persons among them women and minors within the third quarter of the year in the state.

El-Rufai also called for simultaneous approach in the fight against banditry.

He said, “The operations against the bandits that began in this last quarter are degrading bandits, but are not simultaneous across all the affected states in the North-West region. That explains limitations that personnel and other resource deficits have imposed on federal security agencies.

“There are simply no enough boots on the ground to have credible deployment to most places, deter crime and restore order.

“Many state governments in the North-West and North-Central have adopted a non-conventional approach to help the security agencies to better protect our communities. In our own case, we have about 900 trained and vetted vigilantes working with the security agencies.

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“However, we still observed that there is no alternative to launching simultaneous operations in all states.”

El-Rufai called on the Federal Government to embark on massive recruitment of security agents.

“Government can change the game significantly by hiring 1,000 willing youths from each of the 774 local government areas of the country into the various security agencies. This will be unprecedented since the civil war.

“An influx or addition of 774,000 new boots on the ground in various security agencies will be a significant blow against criminal and an employment creating opportunity.”

Backing the National Assembly’s resolution to declare bandits as terrorists, the governor said, “We in the Kaduna State have called for the declaration of bandits as insurgents and terrorists. We have written letters to the Federal Government since 2017, asking for this declaration because it is this declaration that will allow the Nigerian military to attack and kill these bandits without any major consequences in the international law.

“So, we support the resolution by the National Assembly and we are going to follow up with a letter for the Federal Government to declare these bandits and insurgents as terrorists, so that, there will be fair game for our military.”

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