Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has advised the Department of State Security (DSS), and the Inspector General of Police, to fish out armed herdsmen, especially those in the forest before it gets out of hand.
HURIWA wonders why prominent Northerners like Katsina and Zamfara States governors and lately the Kaduna based Islamic cleric Dr. Gumi have had open interfaces with armed Northern bandits but the DSS is yet to arrest the suppliers of those sophisticated weapons being displayed openly during such publicized parleys.
The group said: “We suspect that there are vested interests supplying these weapons of mass destruction to armed Fulani herders also known as armed Northern bandits who have taken control of most forests across the Country. There may be a game plan to put pressure on the Federal government to set up an amnesty office for the soon to be declared repentant bandits to take the shape of the Niger Delta Amnesty office so as to create jobs for the boys now well armed.
“We wonder why the DSS has yet to catch up with the sponsors of these bandits but are often inundating the public space with irritating alarms as if it has become the “village town criers”. Is this why Nigerian public spend billions of public cash to maintain that once professionally excellent security institution? Please the DSS should be operated in line with the law setting it up so all the suppliers of weapons to armed non- state actors especially the armed Fulani herders attacking every community in the country through the forests are arrested prosecuted, sanctioned to save Nigeria from imminent war of ethnicities.”
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko in a statement issued on Thursday recalled that the renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, on Tuesday visited some bandits in the forests of Shinkafi and Gummi local government areas of Zamfara State, even as the Cleric was reported to have gone to another forest at Makkai Forest, where he and his entourage met with more than 600 bandits with automatic rifles. And their top commander, one Kachalla Turji, welcomed the Sheikh.
The Rights group citing media report said, like in Tubali, the bandits in Makkai expressed frustration at government attitude towards them even as Gumi said, “Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling.”
HURIWA has therefore alleged that there is more to it than meets the eyes if a detailed analysis of the interactions held between the Islamic Cleric and the armed bandits are anything to go by.
The group said: “The texture of the conversations pointed directly to a grand conspiracy to blackmail Nigerians into buying into any future suggestion that the government should set up an amnesty office for repentant Northern armed bandits.”
HURIWA asserted that by virtue of the National Security Agencies ACT, it was totally irregular and unconstitutional that DSS will do nothing to arrest persons welding sophisticated weapons just as politicians and Islamic clerics are photographed holding conversations with the terrorists and the armed Non- state actors will then speak like persons being owed by Nigerians.
HURIWA affirmed that under the establishment Act for SSS the law says: “There shall, for the effective conduct of national security, be established the following National Security Agencies, that is to say- (a) The Defence Intelligence Agency; (b) The National Intelligence Agency; and (c) The State Security Service.
“Besides, the general duties of the National Security Agencies are: (1) The Defence Intelligence Agency shall be charged with responsibility for- (a) The prevention and detection of crime of a military nature against the security of Nigeria; (b) The protection and preservation of all military classified matters concerning the security of Nigeria, both within and outside Nigeria; (c) Such other responsibilities affecting defence intelligence of a military nature, both within and outside Nigeria, as the President, or the Chief of Defence Staff, as the case may be, may deem necessary. (2) The National Intelligence Agency shall be charged with responsibility for-(a) The general maintenance of the security of Nigeria outside Nigeria, concerning matters that are not related to military issues; and (b) Such other responsibilities affecting national intelligence outside Nigeria as the National Defence Council for the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary, amongst others.