Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, says over 100 cases of kidnapping have been recorded in the state from January to September 2019.
He added that cash ranging from N500,000 to N5 million naira has been collected from victims as ransom within the period.
The governor made the disclosure on Thursday while speaking as a special guest at a one-day training for inter-agency personnel to form a joint operation team ahead of the commencement of operation Ayem Akpatuma in Taraba.
The operation which is slated to take place between November 1 and December 23 is aimed at ending security challenges and fostering civil-military relationships in the state.
According to Governor Ishaku, the military is no doubt the most consistent sector of Nigeria’s security architecture.
He said, “Right from independence, the complex task of keeping Nigeria one and protecting the nation from internal and external aggressions, undoubtedly rests on the military.
”This makes the Nigerian military to remain an integral of the nation’s internal security structure, given the magnitude of current security threats in the country.”
The governor opined that the foundation of the nation’s unity and democracy was threatened recently by different forms of conflicts ranging from sectarian to ethno-religious crisis and other forms of crimes such as kidnappings, cattle rustling, terrorism, and farmers-herders crisis among others.
He stressed that these conflicts have severe consequences on human and material resources of the nation.
A Crisis-Free State
Governor Ishaku noted the justification of military involvement in internal security, as provided in Section 217c of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“I must add that the cooperation between security agencies is very important and necessary if we must achieve our aims.
“The case of Taraba State is so unique and diverse from other parts of the country because it is the only state not bedevilled by the North-East insurgency; it serves as a safe haven for fleeing victims,” he said.
The governor stated that another peculiarity of Taraba was the multi-ethnic and multi-religious colorations of the state, where over 80 ethnic groups exist with three major religions.
He added, “In fact, I always say that Taraba is a mini-Nigeria. These amazing revelations call for a sensitive government not to rest on its oars to combat any form of criminality or security challenges.”
Governor Ishaku, however, gave assurance that his administration was ready to support efforts of the military towards peacebuilding and a crisis-free state.
He described Exercise Ayem Akpatuma II as a welcome development and announced the donation of 26 motorcycles and two Toyota Hilux vans to complement the Federal Government’s effort.
For operation ‘Wild Stroke’, the governor said his administration would offer the military four Hilux vans.
“I believe that this gesture will spur the security operatives to rid the state of miscreants which has become increasingly alarming for some months now in the state.
“In as much as the proposed exercise is meant to root out criminals in our various communities, I appeal to the military to do their operations with human face, mindful of issues that have to do with the violation of human rights and be guided by the acceptable standard in civil-military relationships,” he said.
The governor also urged the military to fashion out effective mechanisms to foster efficient inter-agency cooperation during the exercise to avoid unwholesome situations that may mar the good intentions of the exercise.
Earlier, the Commanding Officer of 23 Brigade, Yola, Brigadier General Mohammed, explained that the training was to provide a unique forum where security agencies, particularly from the three divisions would meet to exchange ideas towards enhancement of inter-agency cooperation.
He added that the choice of the theme ‘Inter-Agency Cooperation Imperative For Efficient Joint Operation’ was hinged upon the vision of a professional responsible Nigerian Army with requisite capacity in the discharge of its conditional role.