The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) has called on the Nigerian government to include indigenous youths of Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Katsina State in all military operations.
According to the CJTF, the youths know their communities very well and were willing to contribute their qouta in the fighting against terrorists.
Speaking at its national summit in Abuja, which brought all stakeholders together, the national chairman of CJTF, Dr Kailani Mohammed, said with the success story they achieved in the North-East, the youths in the North-West should be included in the military operations in their areas.
He added that the CJTF has a formidable way of recruiting youths that will assist in the military operations.
“The Nigerian military’s operations against insurgency and kidnapping currently taking place in Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Katsina require a similar approach of military operatives and civilians.
“The local youths know their communities very well and they are determined to protect their area and family members. Already, the leadership of CJTF in the country has a way of recruiting decent youths who are willing to defend their areas and their families.
“These youths have a history of bravery and if given the chance, many will volunteer to work in the taskforce in order to bring respite to and rid their community of insurgency and banditry.
“On this note, it behoves this gathering to chart a way forward that would be presented to the Nigerian authorities as well as Governors in the North West for their consideration,” Mohammed said, adding that the menace of insecurity is now tough in the North-West but that the youths were willing to fight back to defend their areas and their families.
“North West region is densely populated but recruiting willing vigilantes who advisably should be placed on a monthly stipend will do a lot of good to the region and the country at large. Undoubtedly, the gathering of intelligence would be much easier with the CJTF in place.
“While Governors in this region should rise and step up measures, by committing adequate resources to fight the security challenges, engaging CJTF will equally add value to their efforts as well as increase and provides people with temporary jobs that would keep them occupied, enable them to provide food for their families and make farming safe in these areas.
“As we look forward to identifying the challenges, it is expected that the summit will work out proactive plans of engagement with the government and other various stakeholders to help nip the challenges and prevent it from further spread.
“Over time, the menace of Boko Haram in Borno and Yobe States have affected so many people, and the development has led to the killing of innocent Nigerians, displacement of many families, stifling of economic growth while causing the death of agile youths, women and children.
“While this development was so sad, but thank God Almighty, the formation of the Civilian Joint Task Force CJTF has been assisting the security operatives at rooting out the Boko Haram fighters in these states.
“From the year 2013, when CJTF was formed, the joint effort between the security operatives and the youth who volunteered to support the security operatives have yielded favourable results.
“The security operatives with their vast training and the Youths with their knowledge of the terrain have come together to tackle the menace head on by protecting the local communities from the atrocities of the Boko Haram fighters.
“The role of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was by no means a success story and to a large extent, formation of similar groups has progressively expanded over the years to the other parts of the country, particularly the North West where the security challenge of insurgency and kidnapping for Ransom suddenly spread.
“The success stories of C-JTF emanating from the Boko Haram epicenter in Nigeria’s northeastern states, particularly Borno and Yobe, must have encouraged the annexing of C-JTF in the Secretary-General’s Annual Report for Children and Armed Conflict for the recruitment and use of children.
“And following the listing, UNICEF, in its role as Co-chair of the United Nations Country Task Force for the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on grave violations against children, has been working with the group and Nigerian authorities to develop an Action Plan that would guarantee attainment of the goal, focusing on raising awareness about the plight of children, and promoting the monitoring and reporting of abuses, ” Mohammed added.
On his part, the Deputy National Commander of the CJTF, Modu Aji Isa, said they have over 32,000 CJTF operatives in Borno State that are supported by the government.
Isa said even though they lost about 7,000 members in the war against insurgents, he added that the government has been taking care of their widows and the children including giving them free education and healthcare.