Insecurity and criminality have in recent years permeated into every nook and cranny of almost all the 36 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The sad development was alien to some states while others have been there for decades.
For example, the issue of kidnapping was not known in the entire northern Nigeria as at 2015, with other issues then taking centre stage, like armed robbery, communal clashes and herders/farmers clashes.
The Boko Haram insurgency started and entirely changed the mood of the region from being the must peaceful to one of the places foreigners are avoiding due to the precarious security situation. Back then, the southern parts were well known for kidnapping, armed robbery and other local criminal activities.
The northern states, more especially the north-west, nowadays, houses bandits and kidnappers who keep terrorising the sub-region. Although, Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, has done something to tame the problem, while Katsina is making moves, but for Kaduna-Abuja expressway, it has become a no-go area as even the security forces prefer to follow train from Abuja to Kaduna or vice versa.
Over the last two years, high profile arrests of kidnap kingpins were made by the police surprisingly in the commercial state of Kano, where the kidnappers hid their victims in their supposed den. Every security agency in the country has major regional headquarters, referred to as zone A or zone 1 and on and on, which, for obvious reasons, is a no-go area.
The Army's Zone 1 is in Kaduna while police have it in Kano; for Customs, it is Lagos for Navy it is Rivers. In all these security agencies, nobody can try to play with them in their named zones, as they fortify such states with high personnel, sophisticated hardwares etc.Personally, and from the foregoing, I see Kano as a wrong place for kidnappers to turn to, except when the political will is lacking.
Kano as Zone A of the Nigeria Police with the presence of the Police Academy there, which majority of the past Inspectors General of Police must work there before they can qualify to be appointed, they will never allow their first home to be facing serious security issues, more especially with regards to kidnapping and banditry.
The arrest and parading of over 100 criminals by the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, will tell how committed the force is to ensure that their Zone A is safe, though I am sure they are also trying to control the issue in other states of the federation as well.
Secondly, right now the Director General of DSS is also from Kano State, and I believe order has already been given to the DSS director in the state to ensure intelligence gathering, so that the kidnappers can be silenced without even the notice of the general public, which I also believe was the reason behind the success of the Police arresting criminal kingpins and other suspects in the state.
Thirdly, the present Minister of Defence (Rtd), Major General Salihi Magashi is from Kano State; he is the second person to hold that position from Kano State since 1999. He happens to be an experienced security personnel as he once commanded the Guards Brigade and was also a governor of sokoto State.
His appointment will definitely give the security forces in the state the required boost to ensure the state is peaceful with no serious criminal activities there, since those that know him say he is a straight forward person and is committed to ensure the Armed Forces do their job as enshrined in the Nigeria's constitution.
I can personally say I saw one because in the recent protests against the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa there was no single Soldier, Navy officer or even Air Force personnel around the area, unlike the period of the former Minister of Defence where the Army were basically doing the police work.
Thirdly, Kano State still has some intelligent retired security personnel who can advise on the ways to be followed so as to protect the state from becoming a den of kidnappers. These people include the former National Security Adviser, Abdullahi Mukhtar, former Chief of Army Staff, Abdulrahman Bello Danbazau, who was the immediate past Minister of Interior.
Lastly, I am sure with the recent developments, the Kano people despite being accommodating to strangers, will always be security conscious, and ensure they monitor the movements of strangers by working with traditional leaders and the security agencies so as to prevent Kano from joining the league of states facing security threat.
It is also important to note the popular saying that security is everybody's business, so that investors will come and Kano will continue to develop.
- Bala contributed this pieces from Abuja