Senate has identified terrorists’ enclaves in communities within three local government areas of Kwara and Niger States, respectively.
This was even as it urged the military to carry out a comprehensive onslaught on bandits and criminal elements within Kainji Lake National Park and the identified communities in both states.
The names of communities given by the upper legislative chamber include Kaiama, Karonzi-Yashikira in Baruten local government area of Kwara State, and Wawa and Babanna areas in Niger State.
These were part of the resolutions reached by the Senate after it considered a motion on the “Worsening insecurity in Kainji Lake National Park and existential threat to communities in Kaima, Baruten and Borgu Local Governments in Kwara and Niger States” by Senator Sadiq Sulieman Umar (APC Kwara North), and co-sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North).
In his presentation, Senator Umar noted that, “kidnapping and other forms of criminality is becoming a recurrent decimal in communities close to Kainji Lake National Park particularly Nanu. Nuku, Woro, Kale in Kaiama and Yashikira in Baruten Local Government Areas of Kwara State and some parts of Borgu Local Government in Niger State.”
“This has led to people living in perpetual fear of either being kidnapped and or Killed by kidnappers suspected to be armed bandits,” he added.
The lawmaker noted that Kainji Lake National Park covers an area of about 5,341km square with deep forest vegetation, stressing that “this park which is reserved for tourism is becoming fort-filed in harboring bandits and other forms of criminals.”
Senator Umar lamented that park rangers meant to man the park could no longer protect the forest reserve as they have lost control of the park to terrorists.
Açcording to him, “the people living in these communities are predominantly farmers and their means of livelihood is threatened by the activities of these criminals as many are leaving their villages and farms to seek refuge in the towns that will soon be threatened as well if nothing is done about this insecurity situation.”
“In fact, some communities have started paying the criminals some sort of tax to be allowed to stay safe,” he informed.
He recalled that the first incident occurred in 2008 which led to the death of several local vigilante group members in an attempt to dislodge the criminals from the Kainji Lake National Park;
The lawmaker further informed of a Forward Operating Base, FOB established immediately after the first attacks and subsequent approval for the establishment of military barrack in the local government, but regretted that the attacks keep on happening with reckless abandon.
Senator Umar added that in this 2022 alone, several cases of kidnapping were reported in villages like Nanu, Nuku, Woro, and so on with several people reported dead while “others who returned were released after the payment of millions of Naira.”
The Senate, in its resolutions, mandated the Committees on Defence; Finance and National Planning to jointly inter-face with the Ministry of Defence to determine status of the establishment and funding of Army Barrack in Kaiama and FOB in Babanna in Kwara and Niger States, respectively.
It also urged the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to send relief materials to victims in the affected communities
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