The President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Dr Ona Ekhomu, says the so-called peace deals with bandits across the country are products of poor policy and intelligence analyses.
He noted that such deals by federal and state governments had failed to address the causal factors of the terrorist attacks (banditry) which include mass poverty, social injustice, arms proliferation, ungoverned spaces, and poor law enforcement.
Ekhomu, security expert, however, commended Katsina State Gov. Bello Masari for terminating the peace deal between the state government and the deadly terrorists, saying the terrorists lack integrity.
He, however, advised Zamfara governor, who is currently considering renewal of the state’s peace deal with the bandits to avoid the futile venture as it would not guarantee peace.
“The recent massacre of 80 persons in Sokoto, 25 in Zamfara and over 120 in Kastina (this year alone), is enough indication that the terrorists are implacable foes.
“It is common knowledge that these terrorists, assassins, kidnappers, rapists, cattle thieves and armed robbers are people of low moral character. So if you think that paying them a lot of money and signing a peace deal on paper with them will change anything, then you’re wrong.
“It is the nature of terrorists to be the personification of evil (mala in se). They can exhibit an infinite variety of human cruelty, depravity and greed,” Ekhomu said in a statement in Lagos, a copy of which was obtained by Persecondnews.
He advised the Northwest states to deploy strategies and resources they have used in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic to the fight against banditry, saying banditry is a much more deadly threat than COVID-19.
According to Ekhomu, the northwest governments should urgently conduct threat assessments and vulnerability assessments of their jurisdictions and create models of how the terrorists are conducting their campaigns of aggression to be able to predict where they will be attacked.
He said that federal government security forces could be called in as response forces once the aggressors are geo-located.
He deplored the reluctance of state governments to spend money on security of their citizens, adding “buying patrol cars for security forces is a necessary but not sufficient condition for better security in the states.”
On their vigilance groups, the intelligence analyst advised the northwest states to establish, fund, equip and empower the vigilance groups to defend them.
He said the Civilian JTF’s performance in Borno State had shown that the state must first defend itself before the federal troops could step in.
Describing the terrorists as “first cousins” of Boko Haram, Ekhomu warned that they should not be treated with kid gloves or appeasement.
“The difference between them and Boko Haram is that they are economically motivated unlike BH which has religion as its grouse.”
He noted that the Federal Government was already overstretched by the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, other grave security challenges across the country and COVID-19 pandemic.
On the responsibilities of states under the 1999 Constitution, Ekhomu said: “The constitution did not stipulate that the security and welfare of the citizens is the primary responsibility of the Federal Government only. It is the responsibility of the government — which includes state governments and local governments. Northern governors must therefore uphold their part of this social contract.”