Minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has asked Benue and Taraba states to suspend the anti-grazing laws as a means of stemming the tide of farmers and herdsmen clashes.
The defence minister made this call during a briefing at the end of a Security Council meeting yesterday at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The call, according to him, is due to “the need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders.”
He further called on the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services (DSS) to prosecute all the suspects arrested in the states.
The defence minister also stressed the need to hasten the establishment of a National Commission on the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria and the need to engage diplomatic channels to ensure US sanctions do not affect Nigeria.
He also suggested to the Council the need for the Defence Headquarters to launch a Joint Task Force operation similar to ‘Operation Safe Haven’ in Jos to cover Zamfara and Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State with its headquarters in Gusau, Zamfara State.
Mansur drew the attention of the Council to the incessant killings and kidnappings by armed bandits and criminal activities across the North West which, he said, had become alarming and worrisome.
He mentioned the Abuja-Kaduna expressway as a source of concern as the route was still recording incidences of kidnapping.
He also stated that the upsurge in security breaches in Zamfara State was quite disturbing and called for more robust approach to tackling the threat.
He said, “The situation is characterised with killings and kidnappings by armed bandits and criminal elements predominantly in Anka, Maru, Kaura Namoda and Talata Mafara local government areas of the state.
In the North-Central, he noted that the incidents of herdsmen-farmers’ clashes in Benue and Taraba states had reduced considerably, adding that several arrests had been made in connection with the killings and destruction of properties by troops in conjunction with other security agencies.
As for the Northeast, the minister stated that the Boko Haram terrorists’ activities had been contained and that there is a significant improvement in security situation in the zone.
“The Nigerian Army has launched ‘Operation Last Hold’ to flush out the insurgents from their hideouts in the Lake Chad Basin and free the communities to enable internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their homes. The operation is to last till the end of August 2018.
“Similarly, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) is currently engaged in an operation to dislodge Boko Haram terrorists in the fringes between Niger Republic and Nigeria. The Task Force has so far dislodged the insurgents from Arege, Kangarwa, Metele and few other islands on the Lake Chad. So far, 296 persons have been rescued and are undergoing profiling.
“The number is envisaged to increase as troops intensify clearance operations. In the South South/South West, the situation of illegal oil bunkering, militancy and pipeline vandalism is on a decline in the Niger Delta following the effort of the federal government to engage stakeholders in dialogue.
“Similarly, ‘Operation Awatse’ has continued to dislodge militants and pipeline vandals from Arepo and other areas in Lagos and Ogun waterside.
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