By Sunday Ani

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A group, North Central Youth Security Forum (NCYSF), has called on President Bola Tinubu to give assent to the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) Bill, which has been passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The group, which has Yashim Luka Doherty as its national coordinator, made the call at a press conference on banditry and other forms of insecurities in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, which took place at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Utako, Abuja.
The NCYSF, which harped on the need to make the NHFSS an autonomous agency under the Federal Ministry of Interior, condemned the recent kidnap and killing of many Nigerians in the Northern region, especially in the FCT, Plateau and Kaduna, and urged the security agencies to go after the killers in order to bring them to book.
It commended the President for some tactical measures recently put in place, as well as his marching orders to the security agencies to ensure that such barbaric acts do not recur.
The group said: “Although insecurity in Nigeria has been with us for a long time and affects all the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the North Central, especially Plateau, Benue and others, as well as some states in the North West like Kaduna and Zamfara, have become hotbeds of the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers, thereby making life unbearable for residents of the affected communities.
“On January 15, that is three days ago, Nationwide Reports, an online newspaper reported that bandits who abducted 10 persons from an estate, Sagwari Layout, Dutse, Abuja, on January 7, killed three of their victims. The killers also increased their demand from the initial N60 million per person to N100 million, totaling N700 million. Among those killed was a 13-year-old high school student, identified as Folorunsho Ariyo and Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar. The question is, if the nation’s capital territory is not safe, where else can be safe in the country?
“In spite of these ugly occurrences, we wish to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, who is barely eight months in office but has taken very strong measures to address insecurity and other criminal activities across the country. The recent marching orders given by the President to the security agencies to bring an end to the heinous crimes perpetrated these enemies of Nigeria, as well as the proactive measures being adopted by the security agencies, are reassuring of the country’s capacity to stamp out the negative trend in no distant time.
“We also believe that more hands are needed to effectively fight and bring to an end, banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and other crimes and criminalities in the country, especially as these aforementioned dangerous activities are planned by hoodlums who use forests and bushes as hideouts.
“It is therefore pertinent to state that in order to effectively fight and defeat banditry, kidnapping and such other crimes, the Federal Government, as part of its general security architecture and strategy, should take deliberate and permanent measures, to ensure that forests are made uncomfortable for criminals to operate from.
“The above can be achieved through empowerment and deployment of well-trained and equipped professionals, who are specially trained to combat criminalities planned and executed within and around forests.
“It is on that note that we, the youths, especially from the North Central, North West and other parts of Nigeria, hereby urge our dear President Tinubu, to sign the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) Bil into law.
“From available records, the NHFSS has been in existence for over 10 years, with well-structured command and control mechanism. The over 20,000 officers and men of the Service operating across the 36 states and the FCT have been at the mercy of individuals and groups who believe and appreciate their exploits and contributions to national security, especially on intelligence gathering and tactical operations within and around the forests.
“Gladly, many state governors, including those of Kebbi, Imo, Plateau and others, are already working with operatives of the NHFSS by providing them with operational vehicles and other necessary equipment to carry out their patriotic duties to fatherland.
“By giving assent to the NHFSS Bill, and making it an autonomous government agency under the Ministry of Interior, the government would have succeeded in empowering the organisation to carry out its statutory responsibility with new vigour, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President.
“There is no doubt that making the NHFSS a government agency would attract added financial burden on the Federal Government, but the added cost cannot be compared with the huge losses incurred by the nation from banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities, including killing of hundreds of Nigerian citizens and other nationals, denting Nigeria’s image at home and across the world, which in turn, affects the government’s drive to attract investors for the hundreds of solid mineral deposits and other opportunities in the country.
“Aside from the above, the NHFSS is a potential source of massive employment for the teeming army of unemployed young people in the country. With the President’s assurances that opportunities would be opened to employ millions of youths by his administration, the NHFSS provides the government the wide window to achieve that, also knowing that employment of young people is one of the surest ways to tackle insecurity by keeping them positively engaged, and off the streets,” it concluded.