Go get arms suppliers instead of serving as “national alarmists or town criers.”
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) to live up to their statutory mandate of ensuring national security rather than serving as “national alarmists or town criers.”
Specifically, HURIWA wondered why prominent northerners like Katsina and Zamfara states governors and lately the Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Dr. Abubakar Gumi, have had open interfaces with armed northern bandits but the DSS has yet to arrest the suppliers of those sophisticated weapons being displayed openly during such publicised parleys.
The rights group said in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko: “We suspect that there are vested interests supplying these weapons of mass destruction to armed Fulani herders also known as armed bandits who have taken control of most forests across the country. There may be a game plan to put pressure on the Federal Government to set up an amnesty office for the soon to be declared repentant bandits to take the shape of the Niger Delta Amnesty office so as to create jobs for the boys now well armed.
"We wonder why the DSS has yet to catch up with the sponsors of these bandits but are often inundating the public space with irritating alarms as if it has become the “village town criers”. Is this why Nigerian public spend billions of public cash to maintain that once professionally excellent security institution?"
It recommended that the DSS should be operated in line with the law setting it up so all the suppliers of weapons to armed non-state actors, especially the armed Fulani herders attacking every community in the country through the forests, are arrested prosecuted and sanctioned to save Nigeria from imminent war of ethnicities”.
HURIWA recalled that the renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dr. Gumi, on Tuesday visited some bandits in the forests of Shinkafi and Gummi Local Government Areas of Zamfara State, even as the cleric was reported to have gone to another forest at Makkai, where he and his entourage met with more than 600 bandits with automatic rifles. And their top commander, one Kachalla Turji, welcomed the Sheikh.
The rights group, citing media report said, like in Tubali, the bandits in Makkai expressed frustration at government attitude towards them even as Gumi said: “Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling.”
HURIWA alleged that there is more to it than meets the eyes if a detailed analysis of the interactions held between the Islamic cleric and the armed bandits are anything to go by, stating that the conversations pointed directly to a grand conspiracy to blackmail Nigerians into buying into any future suggestion that the government should set up an amnesty office for repentant northern armed bandits.
By virtue of the National Security Agencies ACT, HURIWA asserted, it was totally irregular and unconstitutional that DSS will do nothing to arrest persons welding sophisticated weapons just as politicians and Islamic clerics are photographed holding conversations with the terrorists and the armed Non- state actors will then speak like persons being owed by Nigerians.