By Rayyanu Bala
Last week all well meaning indigenes of Nasarawa state woke up to the disturbing news of kidnapping of the State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammad Lawal in his country home of Nassarawa Eggon. The incident drove many people in the state into state of bewilderment and uncertainty as it left no one in doubt as to the escalating scale of insecurity in the state. Hardly a day passes by without hearing of news of one kidnapping or the other or without hearing of one attempted kidnapping or the other in one part of the state or the other. Our conventional, online and social media are always awash with such stories. The phenomenon has indeed assumed a frightening dimension that today some are even contemplating finding some means of securing themselves independent of the state. Last week’s kidnapping of the state commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism has brought the number of high and low profile kidnappings in the state to unimaginable number. From the former Minister of Labour, late Hussaini Zanwa Akwanga, former permanent secretary now member of the National Assembly Service Commission, Alhaji Muazu Ishaq to present permanent secretary government house administration, Alhaji Jibrin O. Giza and present chairman Keffi Local Government Hon Muhammad Baba Shehu, all fell victims of kidnap gangs in the state where handsome amount of money were allegedly paid before their release.
Though cases of kidnapping and banditry is not peculiar to Nasarawa state as virtually all the northern states and some part of eastern and western states are also experiencing this form of criminality, the case of Nasarawa state is today assuming some form of notoriety with security agencies seemingly helpless. One must however, acknowledged the fact that Governor Abdullahi Sule is trying his best to secure the state against all forms of criminality. His determination in this direction is not in doubt. The encouragements and supports security agencies are getting from the state government are not only fantastic but marvelous; yet the level of criminality in the state instead of reducing is increasing.
Through concerted efforts of Governor Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa state was able to secure high level security formations all aimed at curbing insecurity in the state. Some of these security formations include: Mobile Training Barrack at Endehu hill in Nasarawa Eggon, Special Forces Army Barrack at Doma, Airforce Special Wing in Lafia, and new Mobile Police (MOPOL) unit in Agyaragu. Others are, Military Task Force unit at Toto, Mopol special unit at Umaisha, Mopol unit at Akwanga and Army base at Keffi. But in spite of presence of these security formations and the support from the state government, there is little to cheer. Admittedly, military task force at Toto has achieved some success in dislodging criminals along that axis but more needs to be done to achieve relative security across the state.
Searchlights must at this juncture be focused on re-evaluating the operations of these security formations and other security apparatus in the state. It certainly beats one’s imagination that despite all these, there are still security breaches in Nasarawa state, culminating to kidnaps for ransoms. Against the background of this sorry state of affairs, there are some security pundits in the state that are suggesting a hastening of total review of security situation in the state following a disclosure by Governor Abdullahi Sule to do that.
It would be recalled that highly disturbed by the increasing wave of insecurity in the state, Governor Abdullahi Sule had hinted at intention of his administration to review the security situation across the state. Speaking during an emergency security meeting he convened at Government House Lafia held on July 28, 2022, in the wake of closure of schools, he indicated that the state government was reviewing the security situation in the state and will take appropriate actions to end this unpleasant situation. He explained that government is exploring more strategies to tackle security challenges. At the said security meeting, Governor Sule also raised an alarm over large movement of bandits to Nasarawa state from Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi and Kaduna states. He added that following the influx of these bandits, there has been noticeable increase in cases of kidnapping within the state.
Regrettably, despite the alarm raised by Governor Abdullahi Sule on influx of bandits into the state and the rising cases of kidnapping, security agencies have done little or nothing towards addressing the issue. That the kidnapping of commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism is coming barely three weeks after Governor Sule raised an alarm over the increasing cases of kidnapping in the state shows that there is a serious lapse in mode of operations by security agencies in the state and the call is on government to proceed with immediate effect on its review of the security apparatus in the interest of people of the state and the investors who are daily trooping the state.