Governor Nasir el-Rufai has a long meeting tied Senior security officials over the killings in the Southern part of the State.
The security chiefs told the Governor that the cycle of attacks and reprisals was compounding criminal activities in the area and causing needless loss of lives and appealed to all sides to embrace peace. In his opening remarks at the meeting, Governor El-Rufai said he came to the meeting “with a heavy heart, saddened by the needless pain several of our communities are enduring in the cycle of violence that is recurring in parts of our state.”
Malam El-Rufai stated that “our task as always is to find means of containing the violence and ending the bloodshed. Today, we want to hear from you the leaders of the security agencies deployed in the area what further measures can be taken to end the agony. On our part, we continue to support the efforts of the security agencies as best as we can.”
Major-General CC Okonkwo, commander of Operation Safe Haven, told the meeting that he had received a deployment of Special Forces while the Chief of Defence Staff is also sending more troops to reinforce those in the area, to stop the communities from attacking each other, and to create the climate for peace talks. He assured that the military will continue to do its best to provide security.
General Okonkwo said that the attacks are not one-sided, contrary to what is reported in the media. He explained that the army is working to improve response time over the vast distances and dispersed communities and the difficult terrain of the conflict area. He noted that even a few days ago, some youths mounted an illegal roadblock along the Manchock-Kagoro road and had to be forcibly dispersed. He stated that having more boots on the ground will not mean having boots everywhere. He disclosed that they are expecting support from airforce platforms to increase response time.
The police traced the outbreak of violence to clashes that started on 5th June 2020 and resurfaced on 11th June 2020.
The security officials advised that as further steps are taken to secure the area, the government should also tackle incitement and fake news and ensure the prosecution of anyone arrested or indicted for the violence.
The meeting was attended by Major-General CC Okonkwo, commander-Operation Safe Haven, Brigadier-General OS Aboi, commander 1 Division Garrison, AVM MI Ibrahim, Air Officer Commanding Airforce Training Command, Brigadier-General EE Eji, Director of Operations at the Defence Intelligence Agency, DCP Sunny Ambrose Onah, AI Koya, Kaduna State Director of DSS, Col. GU Akpan, outgoing commander Sector 7 of Operation Save Haven and his successor Col DC Nwakonobi and officials from the National Intelligence Agency.
Partipants on the Kaduna State Government side were Deputy Governor Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, SSG Balarabe Abbas Lawal, Chief of Staff Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, Commissioner for Local Government Jafaru Sani and Commissioner for Internal Security & Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan. The Kaduna State House of Assembly was represented by the Speaker, Hon. Yusuf Zailani and the Majority Leader, Hon. Haruna Inuwa.
Earlier in his remarks, Malam El-Rufai enumerated the steps the government had taken over the last five years on its own and in conjunction with the Federal Government to reinforce security presence in southern Kaduna. “We answered the decades old demand for a permanent military base by working with the Federal Government to deploy a forward operating base of the Nigerian Army in Kafanchan. Our government purchased an estate to provide accommodation for a permanent mobile police squadron in the area. Also, deployed in area are troops from Operation Safe Haven and Nigerian Army Special Forces, complemented by two mobile police squadrons.
The core security meeting will reconvene next week to receive further updates on security actions and outcomes and track the implementation of suggested next steps.