…express worries over gruesome killing of 42 soldiers, police, civilians in Taraba
. Demand establishment of forest guards to tackle banditry
House of Representatives on Wednesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently embark on massive recruitment of personnel into the Nigerian Armed Forces with a view to ensuring successful prosecution of war against terrorism ravaging the country.
The resolution was passed following the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance co-sponsored by two Taraba lawmakers namely: Hon. Danjuma Usman and Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu on the unconscionable killings of civilians, officers of the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State and the need to increase the capacity of the Armed Forces and security agencies to forestall further loss of lives.
In his lead debate, Hon. Usman noted that on Tuesday 10th May 2022, bandits/terrorist attacked Tati village in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, a farming community and was razed down by the bandits who had arrived in the area the previous night and butchered 42 civilians, policemen and six soldiers.
According to him, “The House is informed that in response to several distress calls made by the residents, security agencies mobilised scantily to the area.
“The House is also informed that the bandits ambushed the security agents who were outnumbered and in the ensuing face-off six soldiers were killed; this was after the bandits had earlier killed a policeman at a checkpoint and other civilians at Tati; the commander of the 93 Battalion is missing in action.
“The House is aware that the massive movement of the bandits to the area had been reported by residents to government agencies and functionaries as well as security agencies some days back.
“The House is also aware that security agencies, especially the 93 BN of the Nigeria Army and some units of the Special Forces (operations Wild Stroke) had engaged the bandits successfully last week and seized dangerous weapons from them.
“The House is further aware that about a month ago, the bandits had struck etcKwentwen, Kwencwen, Kwenmboi (Quarry), Gangum 2, Tati-Kumbo and Tati area. Others are; Bassang, Fawen, Kashiten and Muji in Takum and Ussa Local Government Areas respectively and killed over 46 persons without any serious challenge.
“The House is concerned that these bandits are increasing their reach and destabilizing more parts of the country.
“The House is also concerned that these bandits operate in very large numbers and in this instant case, less than 20 military men are confronted by over 300 well armed bandits.
“The House is disturbed by this persistent and consistent killings of both security personnel and civilians that may dampen the morale of our soldiers and encourage the bandits to cause more havoc.
“The House is further disturbed that Nigeria has one of the lowest ratios of Soldiers to the civilian population and the men are overstretched as operations are taking place in almost all States of the Federation.”
To this end, the House enjoined the Chief of Army Staff and Inspector-General of Police to deploy more security men to effectively secure the Takum LGA in Taraba State and fish out the bandits.
The lawmakers also urged the intelligence agencies to take steps to fish out the sponsors of these bandits so that they are made to face the law.
While speaking during a press briefing, Hon. Usman, noted that Nigeria had one of the lowest ratios of soldiers to the civilian population and the men are overstretched as operations are taking place in almost all states of the Federation and called for the establishment of forest guards to help tackle the issue of bandits and insecurity bedeviling the nation.
According to him, “The military is overwhelmed because of the obsolete equipment they have, they cannot even move because as I speak not the Commanding Officer of the 97 battalion is nowhere to be found he led the operation to Taki village where 6 soldiers were killed but the commanding officer as I speak now we do not know his where about.
“Our area is in dire need of security guards as you know it is an agrarian society and these bandits come in groups, you see them in large numbers. We are crying out for government to assist us by providing enough security in our area, though we understand that the ratio of civilians to the military is not enough.
“We need security otherwise one day we will not be able to sit here, you cannot travel from hereto Nasarawa, from here to Kogi, from here to Kaduna, from here to plateau without been at alert, without been afraid that something will happen to you and at any time they can come for you. That was why last year I sponsored a bill on forest guards but as I speak I don’t know what happened to that bill.
“These bandits operate on our forest, so I am appealing to the media to help us pass this message to the government so that all of us are secure so that we can all do our jobs better. The governor is doing his best but he is also overwhelmed, the governor is not in charge of the security it is the federal government that is in charge of security in the country.”