Kaduna State Government will not negotiate with bandits, anarchists and people who take life at will but it will work with security agencies to root them out, the state’s Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, disclosed.
The commissioner also said that the government will not compromise on security issues as it will neither relent in its efforts in tackling the criminals nor entertain any distraction.
‘’Government will not succumb to emotions and diversionary tactics. We have a constitutional and statutory responsibility to protect lives and property, and we will continue to pursue that course. Everyone must recourse to the law,’’ he added.
Mr Aruwan, who stated this in an address at the maiden meeting with Major General Chukwuma Okonkwo, the new Commander of Operation Safe Haven which has its headquarter in Jos, at the sector 7 Base in Kafachan on Saturday, maintained that no one has the right to take life over any disagreement, or carry out reprisals.
The commissioner reiterated that ‘’only government and the courts have the power to arbitrate and dispense justice, and the law is blind in this regard. God is the giver of life, and no group of individuals can stake a valid claim to wipe out any race of people.’’
Recalling what he told the visiting team from the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on 17th March, 2020, Mr Aruwan said that ‘’ criminals must be treated as criminals without recourse to religion, ethnicity or political affiliation.’’
Mr Aruwan listed the names of those who lost their lives in killings and reprisals in Kaura, Kauru, Jema’a, Sanga and Zangon Kataf local government areas, spanning ethno-religious divides.
The commissioner however said that despite the challenges of tackling the criminals, ‘’several successes were achieved in the area of de-escalating violence, containing threats to law and order and curtailing the spate of wanton killings. ‘’
According to him, some officers and men ‘’ paid the supreme price in the line of duty, and some survived with severe injuries. May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and we pray for the speedy recovery for the injured. ‘’
‘’On several occasions, your officers and men repelled attacks, arrested bandits and also recovered arms and ammunition. There are instances where they came under heavy attack. They applied tact and professionalism in line with the standard best practices as they did the needful. These are giant strides and we can’t forget in a hurry,’’ he recalled.
Mr Aruwan who said that Kaduna State enjoyed a good working relationship with previous Commanders of Operation Safe Haven, like Major General Rogers Ibe Nicholas, Major General Anthony Atolagbe and Major General Augustine Agundu, said that he looks forward to having the same rapport with the new Commander.
The commissioner said that Kaduna State owes deep gratitude to the Operation Safe Haven team which comprises military personnel, the Police, members of Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and Department of State Security (DSS).
‘’We are grateful to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, the director of the DSS and the commandant of the NSCDC for their tremendous support,’’ he added.
The commissioner also enjoined citizens of Kaduna State ‘’ to take advantage of our Operations Room of Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, which works 24 hours, as part of our strategy to improve human intelligence gathering. Incidents, threats and suspicious activities may be reported via these phone numbers: 09034000060 and 08170189999.’’
In his remarks, Major General Okonkwo assured Kaduna State Government of a sound relationship, adding that Operation Save Haven will review the request of the state government.