Fear, concern over Bauchi as military ‘smokes’ out terrorists, bandits from neighbouring states

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Bauchi State, located in the North-East region, today enjoys relative peace despite being bordered by Kano and Jigawa States to the North, Taraba and Plateau to the South, Gombe and Yobe to the East and Kaduna to the West.

The peace being witnessed in the State notwithstanding, Bauchi State still has its own fair share of insecurity, including kidnapping, cattle rustling, thuggery, rape, among other crimes, which both the state government and security agencies are assiduously battling to tackle with a view to ensuring that the relative peace in the state is sustained for the benefit of the inhabitants.

With the current onslaught by the military on bandits’ havens in Zamfara, Katsina, and Kaduna States, people fear that the fleeing bandits may find their ways into Bauchi State, more so with the presence of Lame Burra forest in Ningi Local Government Area; Balmo forest in Gajuwa LGA; Yuda and Mundu, Panshanu and Megemu forests in Toro LGA as well as Yankari Games Reserve in Alkaleri LGA.

Security sources informed DAILY POST that the location of these forests in the State could provide a haven for fleeing bandits who might escape military bombardment in the ongoing operation against them and turned Bauchi State to their operational base.

But reacting to this fear, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Ahmed Mohammed Wakil, told DAILY POST that the police was aware of the location of the forests and as such had put proactive measures, backed with sustained operations, intelligence-led community-policing engagements and other crime fighting strategies in place to ensure a crime-free Bauchi State.

According to the police image maker, “The Command has put in place crime preventive measures, which include visibility policing, community partnership, constant raids of black spots, regular foot and vehicular patrols, surveillance on buildings and vulnerable areas, stop and search, and intelligence-led policing through partnership with sister agencies and other non-governmental organizations in order to nip in the bud all forms of crime and criminality and also to flush out criminals from the state.”

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While acknowledging the fact that the location of forests in the state provides cover for criminal elements, Wakil informed that the police and the other stakeholders, including other security agencies and vigilante groups like Danga Security, were working hand in hand to see that the state was secured from bandits and other criminals who might run from Zamfara and other Northern states so that they would not have access to the state.

“Police and other security agencies in the state have now joined hands in order to secure and block all borders that lead into the state,” the PPRO said, adding that the robust synergy with the state government and other security agencies; vigilante groups; religious/traditional institution; youths and other stakeholders had contributed to the relative peace being enjoyed in the state.

To ensure peace continues to reign in Bauchi State, the police spokesman informed that the police recently mopped up some arms and ammunition in the state.

According to him, the arms included 25 AK-47 rifles; one locally made SMG; one SMG; one locally fabricated AK47; one English Barretta and one magazine; 27 rusted/unserviceable locally made revolver; 29 unserviceable locally made pistol and cartridge; two pistol Berettas; five Dane guns; three locally made single barrel guns; three locally made revolver pistols and six locally made pistols.

He added that part of the ammunition the police recovered in the state are 874 pieces of 7.6mm; 5,022 5.56mm; 113 9X19mm; 274 62.7mm; 177 38mm, among others.

While assuring that the police will continue to ensure that the state is secured not only from bandits and other criminal elements, the PPRO called on the people of the state to continuously volunteer information with which police and other security agencies can take prompt action to prevent banditry and other crimes.

Speaking in the same vein, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the State Governor on Security, Alhaji Umaru Aliyu Alkaleri, described Bauchi as the most secured state in the entire Northern Nigeria.

He said that the Bauchi State government was doing everything possible to ensure that the state was devoid of banditry and other forms of criminality in order to sustain the relative peace being enjoyed currently.

Alkaleri informed that in order to sustain the relative peace, the government deployed about 10,000 hunters to support police and other security agencies as part of its effort to fight insecurity and bandits across the state, adding that 70 patrol vehicles were distributed by the government to hunters and security agencies to ease their operations.

“With the current security situation in Zamfara, Katsina and others, the Bauchi State government has registered hunters across the 20 local government areas of the state. The hunters are to assist in routine patrol as well as to dislodge suspected bandits’ camps in the forests across the state with the support of security agencies,” the governor’s security aide told DAILY POST.

Alkaleri, who is also the state Chairman of Hunters Association of Nigeria, said that registered hunters had been operating 24/7, patrolling all nooks and crannies of the state in order to make citizens sleep with their eyes closed. He added that the hunters were operating jointly with security agents in all the 20 local government areas of the state.

He informed that hunters recently arrested 29 suspects allegedly accused of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery in the state, adding that they also destroyed kidnappers’ camp located between Dass and Tafawa Balewa.

He then appealed to traditional rulers, especially district, village, and ward heads to continue to give all necessary support and cooperation to security agencies towards making Bauchi the most peaceful state in the country.

Air Commodore Ahmed Tijjani Baba Gamawa (rtd), on his part, told DAILY POST that though the present security situation in the country, particularly in some Northern states was worrisome, “we are really lucky in Bauchi State. When you take a look at the whole Northeast sub-region, it is only Bauchi that is peaceful.”

He asserted that despite the fact that bandits feeling the heat of military onslaught on them and other criminal elements may want to move to Bauchi and other neighbouring states, with the measures already in place, such disgruntled elements would not find it easy to get access to Bauchi State.

According to him, this is based on the fact that the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, is not taking security issues lightly, adding that the governor has been providing logistics for security agencies in the state.

“The governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, is a kind of person that doesn’t joke with security. He works with security agencies hand in hand and he cares for the security operatives, providing them with vehicles and other logistics. He also makes sure he gives them all they need so that they can do a good job by securing the state so that bandits and other bad people will not have access to come into the state,” the retired military officer said.

He noted that all entry points into the state have been secured, as according to him, “we have military and police checkpoints.”

Despite being peaceful, other stakeholders who spoke with DAILY POST are of the opinion that security agencies and the state government should not rest on their oars in order not to be caught unawares by bandits, insurgents and other criminals.

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