Renowned activist and former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, speaks on the bloodbath and the degenerating state of insecurity in Kaduna State in this interview with Andy Asemota.
Why has the security situation in Kaduna State defied all logic?
Well, there are a number of factors in respect of that. First of all, no concrete action has been taken in almost five to six years, whether by the Federal Government or the state government and this has led to the rise in crime.
Secondly, the utterances of the governor against the bandits openly have made them to converge on Kaduna in defiance of the governor. Currently, Kaduna has become hub of kidnapping, banditry in Northern Nigeria, almost after Zamfara State.
The third aspect of it is the failure of security agencies to take the war to the bandits rather than allowing the bandits to kidnap innocent victims before their response.
Currently, our children cannot go to their schools and our farmers cannot go to their farms because of serious threats of insecurity to our children and farmers. Right now, there are five local government areas that are virtually in the grips of the bandits. In fact, no soul is safe and to be candid with you, there only two safe local governments in the state. They are Kaduna North Local Government and Kaduna South Local Government Area. Apart from these two councils, there is no local government that is safe from bandits, terrorists and kidnappers.
Many allude to the issue of bad governance as fuelling insecurity in the state. How do you see the role of the the governor, Nasir el-Rufai, in this regard?
Well, whether you have good or bad governance, the terrorists have decided to unleash mayhem and they are doing that not only in Kaduna but also in North Western part of the country. However, good governance could have reduced the impact, ferocity and the bloody nature of the attacks because by doing that you will carry the people along in the fight. So right now, I can tell you that many of the police stations in the state do not have enough equipment to even respond to distress calls.
What do you think should be done to restore sanity in the state?
First, you must carry the people along in the fight. You must come down and be friendly. That will motivate the people and give them the motivation to fight.
Secondly, there should be enough operating vehicles for the security agents, particularly the police.
Thirdly, we must apply drone technology. Technology is very important to know where the bandits are and know how they converge. Right now, they have become so daring that they give notice before they come. It is as bad as that. They gave notice to the principal of Bethel Baptist High School and they came.
The next thing that needs to be done is that the vigilance service must be empowered because the bandits fear these vigilance groups more than the police. So, these vigilance groups need to be equipped to be able to fight these criminals.
How has this situation affected the social and economic life, especially night life in the state?
The most painful fact is that Kaduna boasts more military formation than any other state in the federation. How do you imagine that even the staff quarters at the Kaduna International Airport were even attacked? How do you explain that the School of Forestry Mechanisation where kidnapping took place recently is next to the Nigerian Defence Academy?
There are four entrances into Kaduna and all are prone to kidnapping and insecurity today. The only means of entering Kaduna that is safe now is by train. Without the train, nobody can access Kaduna; that is the fact.
Are you worried that alleged sponsors of banditry are still invisible despite Federal Government’s threat to expose them?
Despite the hundreds of millions of naira paid as ransom to these bandits, you will never see any bandit’s property or treasury that is worth N1million.
Bandits that have been arrested here so far do not even have good clothes to wear. Yet, they have been collecting hundreds of millions of naira as ransom.
The parents of Greenfield University students paid over N100 million but in the whole of Kaduna State, you cannot find any bandit arrested with any valuable property like the erstwhile kidnap kingpin in the South-East, Evans. So, there is a possibility that they are working for some people.