The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has recorded a major success, with its intervention to find an enduring resolution to the lingering insecurity in Zamfara state and other parts of the North-West.
Recall that a delegation of the CNG had visited Gusau, the Zamfara State capital in the aftermath of the bandit attack on the Gusau University and abduction of female students for first hand assessment of the situation.
While in Zamfara the CNG delegation interacted with various stakeholders, including officials of the state government, the authorities of the university concerned, the affected families, community leaders, security agencies and representatives from the academic community.
The University authorities, in particular, after expressing gratitude to the Military for its commendable efforts and gallantry in response to threats to the university community, emphasized the importance of strengthening security measures within the university premises to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors.
They acknowledged the presence of a military formation at Kwatarkwashi about five kilometers from the campus which is however, scantily manned by the very few troops deployed. It is this formation that always mobilizes to the University’s distress but whenever they happen to be attending to another distress call at Magami, Wanzamai or Kuceri which is also within their area of coverage, the University environment becomes porous and exposed to vulnerabilities.
They proposed the establishment of a security outpost to replace the current mobile formation and be permanently dedicated to securing the campus and the Sabon Gida community where most students reside due to lack of adequate hostel facilities on campus.
They expressed worries over the porosity of the university’s surroundings, emphasizing the urgent need for fortification fencing and the construction of security ditches.
On its part, the State Government also acknowledged the efforts of the troops in engaging the attackers effectively and efficiently notwithstanding the gross inadequacy in number which has made them overstretched.
The State Government recommended the deployment of additional contingents to reinforce the ones on ground for more effective action against the criminals.
They also recommended the establishment of a commission, similar to the Niger Delta and North East Development Commissions, can provide a centralized platform for coordinating efforts, allocating resources and implementing targeted development programs in Zamfara State and the entire North-West.
However, the Government hinted at the lack of cooperation between them and the Federal Government and said only an enhanced synergy between them can be able to resolve the security situation in the State.
A statement by CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said in furtherance of its intervention in the security situation in Zamfara in particular and the North-West generally, the CNG presented to the Minister of State Defense, Bella Mohammed Matawale its findings and recommendations arising from its visit to Zamfara visit.
“The Minister of State Defense, touched by the report, gave an immediate directive for a permanent military outpost to be stationed close to the university campus solely responsible for securing the campus as requested by the University authorities and recommended by CNG in its report,” Suleiman said in the statement.
In his response while receiving the CNG report, the Defense Minister explained that the federal government never encouraged any misunderstanding with the Zamfara State government and instead it is concentrating on ways to address the security challenges in the state.
He said the federal government has exhibited considerable restraint and maturity by not allowing supposed misunderstanding linger beyond necessary.
He also undertook to liaise with the federal Ministry of Education to ensure the immediate commencement and early completion of the fencing fortification around the university premises and said the Defense Ministry would hand the provision of ditches round the campus.
“We commend the successes of our gallant troops and applaud the new spirit of cooperation among the frontline states and the strong will of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the fight against banditry and kidnapping in Zamfara and other North-West states,” the Defense Minister said.
He commended the CNG for its initiative and readiness to partner with the Federal Government in addressing the security challenges in the North-West region in general and Zamfara State in particular.
Responding, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the CNG, Nastura Ashir Shariff expressed appreciation to the Minister for his readiness to act on their findings and said this shows the seriousness of the Federal Government in finding a lasting solution to the security challenges in the region.
“We urge the government and security forces to fight this insurgency with resolve and awareness of their obligations under the law, as well as the knowledge that victory will only be pronounced when the nation achieves full cessation of hostilities, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in the entire region,” Shariff said.
He also strongly urged the Minister to ensure that the military presence and permanent militarization of the Gusau University campus is not meant to serve as rhetoric but a sincere and genuine effort to secure the students and other citizens of Zamfara.
Given the complexity of the security situation in the North-West region, the CNG is also proposing to the Minister the need to deploy specially trained personnel and other resources in the region to ensure lasting peace and security.
“The CNG is hopeful that the Federal Government, in tandem with the State Governments, will take action on its findings and recommendations and ensure Zamfara and other states in the North-West are secured.
“The CNG will continue to monitor the situation and work with other stakeholders to ensure that the Federal Government and State Governments take action on its recommendations and secure Zamfara and the North-West,” he said.
This move by the CNG is expected to be a major step towards finding a lasting solution to the security crisis in Zamfara and other parts of the North-West region of Nigeria.