Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna state governor, says the failure to mount a “sustained and simultaneous” operation against bandits in the north-west “has emboldened them”.
The governor said Kaduna and neighbouring states have been supporting the efforts of security agencies with funding and resources since 2015.
El-Rufai made the remark on Wednesday at the presentation of the 2020 Annual Security Report.
“Together with Niger state and our neighbours in the north-west, we put together resources to fund military operations against bandits in the Kamuku-Kuyambana forest range that straddles the region,” he said.
The governor said it is regrettable that the collaboration “was not sustained or expanded into a campaign of continuous, simultaneous operations against the bandits across our vast region”.
“Failure to contain and defeat them in one place has emboldened them to develop a national footprint and endanger national cohesion,” he added.
The governor said the security agencies need more “numbers”, modern technology and equipment to adequately overcome the bandits.
“The security of our communities depend on the robust projection of state power, and that can only be done with sufficient security numbers to overawe and deter criminals,” he said.
El-Rufai also reiterated his call for the decentralisation of policing, noting that “there simply are not enough police officers in Nigeria and the idea of policing such a vast, federal republic in a unitary manner is not pragmatic”.
He added that his government has invested in a CCTV network that is being deployed in Kaduna metropolis “while options for consistent operations of its drones are being explored”.
On his part, Samuel Aruwan, the state commissioner of internal security and home affairs, said victims of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities cut across all ethnic and religious groups in Kaduna.
“Victims of criminal acts like banditry and kidnapping are to be found across ethnic, religious or political leanings and persuasions,” he said.
The commissioner said the total number of deaths linked to banditry and other forms of violence in 2020 stood at 937.
Aruwan added that out of 1,972 people kidnapped in the period under review, 1,461 were kidnapped within Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa and Chikun LGAs of Kaduna.