The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson has said Nigeria needs to look beyond the security and intelligence response to insurgency, banditry and kidnapping in the northern part of the country.
“The other thing which I believe must be part of the solution, is why people are carrying out these activities, why young men believe the best choice they have is to carry out the violent activities and attacks on their fellow citizens and fellow ethnic groups in the region,” she said.
“It is through understanding the drivers of instability, some of which are obvious – competition for resources, completion for land, lack of opportunity, and doing our best to address them that would help stop the problem because a security-only answer would never take the drivers away,” the high commissioner further said.
Speaking at the 1st Umaru Shinkafi Intelligence and Security Summit, Atkinson said resolving the issues was very important for the northwest of Nigeria and for the youth in the region to see a better life of peace and prosperity.
Also speaking, the Department of State Services (DSS) Head of Special Operations, Dr Hakeem Abiola said despite the intelligence, there had been some shortcomings making banditry difficult to curtail.
“Apart from the issue of the porosity of the border, you see them utilising some of the forests that have overtime been left abandoned,” he stated.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State noted the need for more intelligence gathering and more community involvement.
He added: “The efforts by the security agencies should be simultaneous; otherwise if you address the challenges in Zamfara without addressing the same with Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, the bandits would only disperse into the next state, so there is a need for all of these to be taken together.”
Governor of Kebbi State Atiku Bagudu called for greater involvement of leaders in rural communities in order to curb the issues of insecurity.
Governor of Zamfara State Bello Matawalle noted the issue of insecurity as a concern for everyone.