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How 302 Bandits Were Arrested in Niger – NHFSS

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How 302 Bandits Were Arrested in Niger – NHFSS

Commander-General, Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Services, Joshua Osatimehin, Thursday, said that native intelligence was the strategy deployed by their agency to arrest 302 bandits with sophisticated weapons in Niger State.

He said that Nigerian hunters had been well trained and therefore in a position to guard the forests and rid them of bandits and terrorists.

Osatimehin said they were collaborating with the police and other security agencies on intelligence gathering.

Speaking with newsmen after the commissioning of the National Headquarters of the service in Abuja appealed for the speedy passage of a bill to provide for legal framework other operations to enable them function optimally as expected.

It will be recalled that the bill which emanated from the Senate had already been passed into law, waiting for concurrence in the House of Representatives.

He said: “We have been rendering series of auxiliary services to the country. We have collaborated with the existing security agencies like the Nigeria Police, Civil Defence, Army and DSS to strengthen the internal security system.

“You will agree that as hunters, we are present in all the nooks and crannies of our forests and some of these social enemies – the criminals – have made the forest their place of hibernation. Signing our bill into law will empower us to chase these criminals from the forests.

“The forests belong to hunters, not criminals. If our bill is signed, that constitutional backup will strengthen our mode of operation to work with other security agencies to curb crimes and criminality in our ungoverned spaces which are majorly the forests, bushes and farmlands.

“A security problem cannot be resolved independently. We need interconnectivity of ideas, strategies and operations to curb crimes and criminality. Naturally, hunters are based in the forests and they know their terrain.

“Nobody enters the forests or farms without the consent of the Nigerian Hunter and Forest Security Service because naturally, by birth, we stay there, we were born there, we know the languages, and we know the forests. So, there is no way you can achieve any success without interconnectivity of ideas and operations.

“You will agree with me that all the security apparatus in the townships – the police, the DSS, none of them is replicated in the forests. If hunters were their eyes…for example, we work with the DSS on intelligence gathering.

“We can also serve as agents to the police on interagency collaboration by monitoring the bandits’ movement in the forests. And the NDLEA, 80 per cent of crimes committed in this country is under the influence of drugs and these drugs are being planted in the forests. We dwell there. If hunters can be commissioned by an enabling law, this may boost our morale to collaborate and continue with our services to humanity.

“By now, we have the power to only use dane guns. Sometimes, if we are working with the police, we also carry pump action. I remember an operation that our men went for in Niger State, and to the glory of God, within a week, we apprehended about 302 bandits with sophisticated weapons. I told you that we have the native strategies to disarm the criminals. That is our logic.

Osatimehin added that NHFSS would be a better option than the state police, urging for the passage of their bill.

“The reason why we said that the full deployment of NHFSS is a better option than state police is that there are some quarters where forming state police might lead to intimidation. We might not be allowed in the national security system. But if ‘hunters’ is federated and commissioned, we have all it takes.

“Last year alone, we were trained by the Department of Training and Development, Force Headquarters, on managing security and security challenges in our forests. We have gone through all the police training institutions in Nigeria. I see no reason why governors should leave this noble organisation and be forming their own.

“We have been trained, we are organised and we have our people in all the nooks and crannies, ranging from the unit level to the ward level, to the state level, to the zonal and national levels. I believe the Federal Government should federalise this organisation and make it an agency of the government, to be commissioned into the national security system”, he said.

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