The Senate has urged the military to carri out a comprehensive onslaught on identified terrorists’ enclaves in communities within three local government areas of Kwara and Niger States, respectively.
The charge was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, 21 June, 2022, by the Special Assistant (Press) to the President of the Senate, Dr. Ezrel Tabiowo.
TheFact Daily reports that the charge formed part of resolutions reached by the Senate after it considered a motion on the “worsening insecurity in Kainji Lake National Park and existential threat to communities in Kaima, Baruten and Borgu Local Government in Kwara and Niger States.”
The names of communities given by the chamber include Kaiama, Karonzi-Yashikira in Baruten local government, and Wawa and Babanna areas in Niger State.
The motion was sponsored by Senator Sadiq Sulieman Umar (Kwara North), and Co-sponsored by the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).
In his presentation, Senator Umar noted that, kidnapping and other forms of criminality was becoming a recurrent decimal in communities close to Kainji Lake National Park particularly Nanu, Nuku, Woro and Kale in Kaiama, and Yashikira in Baruten Local Government of Kwara State, as well as some part of Borgu Local Government in Niger State.
This, Senator Umar said, has led to people living in perpetual fear of either being kidnapped or killed by kidnappers suspected to be armed bandits.
The Senate further noted that Kainji Lake National Park, which covers an area of about 5,341km square with deep forest vegetation and which is reserved for tourism is becoming fortified harbour of bandits and other forms of criminals.
According to the statement, park rangers meant to protect the park can no longer do so as they have lost control of the park to terrorists.
The Senate also expressed worry that people living in these communities, who are predominantly farmers, and whose means of livelihood was threatened by the activities of these criminals, are leaving their villages and farms to seek refuge in the towns that will soon also be threatened if nothing is done about the insecurity situation.
“In fact, some communities have started paying the criminals some sort of tax to be allowed to stay safe”, it posited.
The statement recalled the first incident which occurred in 2008, in which several vigilante group members lost their lives in an attempt to dislodge these criminals from the Kainji Lake National Park, and said that although there is a Forward Operating Base (FOB) that was established immediately after the first attacks, and a subsequent approval for the establishment of a Military barrack in the local government, these attacks keep on happening with reckless abandon.
The Upper Legislative Chamber took into cognizance “that in this year 2022 alone, several cases of kidnapping were reported in villages like Nanu, Nuku, Woro, and so on with several people reported dead. Others who returned were released after the payment of millions of naira.”
The Senate, therefore, in its resolutions, mandated the Committees on Defence; Finance and National Planning to jointly inter-face with the Ministry of Defence to determine status of the establishment and funding of Army Barrack in Kaiama and Forward Operation Base (FOB) in Babanna in Kwara and Niger States, respectively.
It urged the military authorities to carry out a comprehensive onslaught on bandits and other criminal elements within Kainji Lake National Park, especially Kaiama, Karonzi -Yashikira in Baruten local government, and Wawa and Babanna areas in Niger state.
The Chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to send relief materials to victims in the affected communities.