The lawmakers say police check points should be mounted to check crime in Nigeria.
A member of the House of Representative, Godfrey Gaiya (PDP-Kaduna), on Thursday suggested the return of mobile police check points to deter criminals, especially in flash points around the country.
“The road blocks are more desirable now than ever; they should be stationed after every kilometre in the flash points,” he said.
The lawmaker said in Jos that “their mere presence is enough to scare many criminals”.
The check points, hitherto a common feature on Nigerian roads, were removed following massive complaints of alleged unwholesome activities of some police officers manning them.
Mr. Gaiya said that such complaints were nothing compared to the usefulness of the road blocks to the Nigerian society.
“The police force should have an internal mechanism for punishing such unwholesome attitude; certainly, such unethical attitude by a few is not enough to deny Nigerians the desirability of the policemen on the highways,” he said.
He blamed the massive insecurity on the absence of the police on the roads and decried a situation where criminals could travel very long distances without being accosted with their loots or illegal arms.
Mr. Gaiya said Nigeria was battling with all manners of violence when other nations were making progress in various fields. He added that the road blocks constituted some proactive measures instead of the current fire brigade scenarios after incidents.
He also lamented that while other nations were progressing, Nigeria was reclining back to the dark days “when good neighbours were becoming sworn enemies while good relationships were being replaced with deep hatred”.
The lawmaker also suggested a closer monitoring of sermons delivered by some clergies, adding that many had continued to preach hatred among Nigerians.
“The nation’s constitution allows for freedom of speech and worship, but we have continued to abuse that; the Imam or Pastors keep preaching that our neighbours are our enemies. We all hear these messages and keep quiet.
“Politicians also take advantage of such differences and exploit them for their selfish gains, but we just pretend until the worse happens. This is not good. We must know that democracy is not madness,’’ he said.
Mr. Gaiya also commented on the incessant clashes between suspected herdsmen and communities in his Southern Kaduna constituency, blaming the situation on struggle for the limited fertile land available for pasture and farming.
“We have visited Attakar Village where these clashes take place and we have found that the fight is over the land there which is very fertile.
“The Fulani want the land because it is safe from tsetse flies and thieves cannot steal from there since the cows are up the hills, but the farmers also need to farm since it is the raining season.
“The land is particularly attractive for the kind of crops cultivated in the area because not much fertiliser is required.
“We have spoken with leaders of the Attakar community and they say they have no problems hosting the Fulani. They merely want the herdsmen to respect them and also know their limits.
“They also want the cows to draw a line between the grass and the crops. Once they can agree on that, there will be no clash,’’ he said.
Mr. Gaiya said the clashes could be avoided if government copied the examples of nations like Kenya, Swaziland and South Africa, where cows are kept in Ranches.
“When the cows are kept in such ranches, they are confined to one place, but we allow our cows to roam from Sokoto to Enugu.
“These countries that have established the ranches do not have half the resources at Nigeria’s disposal, yet they have been able to settle the Fulanis and their cows and have no clashes. We must do same,” he said.
He also called for special reserves for grazing to minimise the search for such fields by the herdsmen. The lawmaker called for more intelligence gathering to help the security agencies to address possible causes of violence long before they snowball into crises.
“The crises do not happen simultaneously. The arms amassment is not done in one day. We have to be more proactive,” he said.
He cautioned against using bad tactics, like violence, to seek attention of the Federal Government, noting that most militant groups had continued to use that to get amnesty, compensation and monetary rewards from government.
“When we encourage that, the nation shall be the worse for it because hitherto peace individuals and groups may get the wrong signals and begin to act the same way,” he said.
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