From its inception in 2019, The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, mandated the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, among other things, to coordinate the internal security of the state and to serve as bridge between the Kaduna State Government and federal security agencies, comprising the Military, Police, Department of State Services, and others. Another key function of the Ministry is the coordination of intelligence gathering.
This is contained in a speech delivered by the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, Mr. Samuel Aruwan at the Public Hearing on Firearms Act Cap. F17, LFN 2004(Amended) Bill 2022(SB 549), at the Senate, National Assembly complex, Abuja, yesterday.
The security linchpin further disclosed to the Senate, “the Ministry publishes regular security updates often contain startling disclosures of banditry incidences, communal violence, killings, reprisals, number of deaths and other casualty details. These updates are simply aimed at keeping citizens of Kaduna State informed about the complex security situation in the State, and to help them appreciate the enormity and dimensions of the problem. It is expected that this awareness will help promote rational choices at community level and drive an informed, collective approach to security matters across the state. It is our conviction that in matters as critical as security, the more the public knows, the better equipped people are to confront and manage challenges, including at local and community levels.”
Aruwan made available to the Senate official sectorial statistics of the attacks, killings and Cattle rustling that occurred in 2020 in Kaduna State.
937 citizens died as a direct result of banditry and communal violence. Six hundred and seventeen (617) of these deaths, (two-thirds of the total) were within the Kaduna Central Senatorial District.
The Kaduna South Senatorial District accounted for 286 deaths (about one-third of the total), due in large part to sporadic clashes, alongside banditry which triggered attacks and counter attacks, especially between June and November 2020. Kaduna North Senatorial District recorded 34 fatalities from banditry and violence.
On another front, 1,972 people were kidnapped in 2020, with Kaduna Central Senatorial District accounting for 1,561 of these. Similarly, 7,195 heads of cattle were rustled across the state. Kaduna Central Senatorial District was also hardest hit with 5,557 animals stolen.
Similarly disturbing figures are set to be published in the coming days for the first quarter of 2021. These include quantities of munitions recovered by security forces, in line with vigorous investigations to dismantle gun-running networks, and block arms routes into the state.
The figures published show quite clearly the staggering human and economic losses suffered across Kaduna State due to the prevailing menace of armed banditry, alongside issues of communal violence. This is the picture of mayhem unleashed by criminals mainly because of the easy access to arms and ammunition, into which bandits invest significant portions of their loot.
He went further saying, The Kaduna State Government continues to support Federal security agencies in their constitutionally defined roles toward combatting this menace, but beyond boots on the ground and kinetic responses – which are, in any case, largely reactive – a lot more is now clearly required.
As the clamour intensifies to devolve issues of internal security to the sub-national levels, other accompanying legislative steps are equally needed, to seize the initiative from non-state actors, and restrict their capacity to gratuitously dispense suffering and anguish to Nigerians.
It is the position of the Kaduna State Government that the proposed Firearms Act CAP, F17, LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2021, is a timely and crucial intervention towards arresting the deepening security predicament in which our country finds itself. Firm legislation enabling stiffer penalties than what currently exists in the parent bill, to regulate the proliferation of small arms and light weapons within our borders, is an urgent and decisive step towards turning the tide of insecurity.
The actions of terrorists, criminals and insurrectionist elements constitute a declaration of war on the Nigerian state, and the security situation must be approached as such, and no less. A crucial aspect of re-defining our governance system at this time, therefore, is ensuring that the coercive powers of the State, including and especially the use of force, remain firmly in the control of the State. It is therefore our ardent appeal that this amendment be passed into law with dispatch.