Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has assured that the Kaduna-Abuja highway, a road once notorious for kidnappings, is now safe because of measures taken by his administration in collaboration with security agencies to curb crime in the area.
Speaking with reporters after declaring open a meeting of Federal and State Security Administrators in Kaduna, El-Rufai said as a demonstration of how safe the highway is, no kidnap incident has occurred on the road in two and a half months.
The Governor added that the state had amended its penal code in 2016 to make kidnapping a capital offence.
“But in the last few months, there has been great reduction in cases of kidnapping,” El-Rufai said.
“Though, it is a combination of issues, but I will like to give credit to our Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, because the creation of that ministry has raised the level of proactiveness these issues.
“The second thing is that the security agencies have changed their strategies from reaction to proaction. So, they don’t wait until kidnapping takes place. They identify where the bandits are and they go and attack them; so, the bandits have been on the run. In the past, we wait until it happens and then we start running helter-skelter.
“Thirdly, I think there is high level of coordination and cooperation within the security agencies. So, you find out that the Air Force is in the air doing ISR, the intelligence surveillance and feeding the police and others on the ground with information. So, the level of cooperation has been enhanced and that has helped in dealing with these problems.
“A very good example is the Kaduna-Abuja road. The Kaduna-Abuja road has not witnessed a single incident of criminality or kidnapping in the last two and half months. But, many people still think it is not safe, they are not plying it and the rest. That road is the safest road in Niegria today. Because of constant surveillance; the Air Force have helicopters and planes constantly over the road and they are feeding information, and the kidnappers that use to stay around the road have all been wiped out or chased deeper into the jungle,” the Governor explained.
He said the state has invested in state-of-the-art security equipment like drones and Closed Circuit Television Cameras to ensure that the state remains safe.
Earlier in his speech, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan said the Kaduna State Government is committed to complementing the efforts of the armed forces, the police and other national security outfits through logistics support, mobility, hardware and other means.
He said the creation of our “Ministry is further justified since at the federal Level, there are usually ministries or departments responsible for enhancing inter-agency cooperation to expeditiously tackle internal security issues.
“In addition, the efficacy of intelligence gathering, and prompt response to threats is key in internal security management. An excellent example of this can be seen in one of the most functional of such organisations globally, America’s Central Intelligence Agency. The Agency’s mantra – ‘The work of a nation – The centre of Intelligence’, aptly captures the national importance of widespread and yet precise intelligence gathering. This is one core area of focus for our Ministry, and structures are being established to that end.”
“Improving internal security cannot be left to government alone. Insecurity impacts the local populace directly. As such the citizens must be incorporated. Various communities came up with different outfits aimed at policing their respective areas. To prevent unhealthy proliferation of such groups, the Kaduna State Government created the State Vigilance Service under the ambits of the law with a view to ensuring sanity and structure in community-based efforts. This service is overseen by our Ministry,” he said.