The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Taoreed Lagbaja, a Major General has described the amnesty program for bandits and terrorists in Zamfara and other states as a failed program.
Lagbaja said this when he hosted Gov. Dauda Lawal of Zamfara during a courtesy call on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the amnesty program had failed to achieve its purpose in the past as it only gave criminals the opportunity to regroup, reorganize, and attack defenseless citizens.
The COAS also noted that the amnesty program in the state and other parts of the Northwest was a failure.
“We also have the issue of the amnesty program that has been instituted and which has failed not only in Zamfara but in so many other states of the North West.
“So, I think we need to look at this issue of the amnesty program because the criminal elements have proven to be incorrigible.
“The issue of amnesty has created an avenue for them to regroup and reorganize to launch attacks on our defenseless citizens. So I think we need to look at that,” he said.
The COAS thanked the governor for feedback on the activities of troops deployed to restore peace in the state.
Lagbaja said he had directed the deployment of more platforms and the release of funds to reactivate unserviceable platforms to boost troop operations in the state.
According to him, the Zamfara crisis is a mix of farmer-herder clashes, ethnic confrontations, and the quest for economic empowerment driven by mining activities.
He assured me that the Army was determined to tackle the security challenges in the state.
“We will not have a situation where some people constitute themselves as outlaws and just go into communities and kill children and defenseless women.
“By working on this with the state government and other critical stakeholders, we can eliminate these outlaws and reduce the insecurities by a significant percentage.
“So I want to appeal to you, Your Excellency, that as we come up with this strategy to address the issue of the “Yan Sakai and other regional groups, the state government should be disposed to the implementation of the measures that we will recommend.
“So that together we will address the activities of these criminal elements.”
Earlier, Gov. Lawal said Zamfara has been facing a very challenging security threat and appealed for the support of the Nigerian army to address it.
Lawal, however, commended the efforts of the troops in restoring peace in the state and called for the deployment of more military equipment to support military operations.
He said that at the moment, only a few operational vehicles in the state were serviceable, while cases of kidnapping and killing of innocent people were rampant on a daily basis.
“In fact, I will say without mincing words that Zamfara is the state that is facing the most challenge in the area of insecurity today.
“Therefore, for me, being the number one citizen, part of my responsibility is protecting lives and properties, but I cannot do this alone.
“I, therefore, need the support of the Chief of Army Staff and his entire team in bringing peace to Zamfara, as well as Nigeria in general.”
The governor said that though the troops were doing very well to secure the state, there was a need for serious intervention in terms of the level of manpower.
“We need to have more people, especially the military, deployed to Zamfara to complement the efforts security officers are making in combating crime.”
The governor lamented that insecurity had grounded development in the state, including education, farming, and other economic activities.
He said children have been unable to go to school, thereby causing a serious setback for the state. (NAN)