North Central Youth Security Forum Urge President Tinubu to Sign NHFSS Bill

Speech by Comrade YASHIM LUKA, National Coordinator, North Central Youth Security Forum (NCYSF) at a Press Conference on Banditry and other insecurities in the North Central on Thursday, January 18, 2024 at the NUJ, FCT Secretariat, Utako, Abuja.

Distinguished members of the Press, ladies and gentlemen, please accept my warm regards and appreciation for honouring our invitation to address one of the greatest challenges currently facing our dear nation, Nigeria, which is ‘rising insecurities,’ including and especially and banditry and kidnapping for ransom with their attendant wanton killing of victims, sometimes, even after the criminals have collected huge amount of money from relatives of their captives.

Although insecurity in Nigeria has been with us for a long time and affects all parts of the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the North Central, especially Plateau, Benue and others, as well as some states in the North West like Kaduna and Zamfara, have become hotbeds of the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers, thereby making life unbearable for residents of affected communities.

On January 15, that is three days ago, Nationwide Reports, an online newspaper reported that bandits who abducted 10 persons from an estate, Sagwari Layout, Dutse, Abuja, on January 7, killed three of their victims. The killers also increased their demand from the initial N60 million per person to N100 million, totaling N700 million. Among those killed was a 13-year-old high school student, identified as Folorunsho Ariyo and Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar.

The question is, if the nation’s capital territory is not safe, where else can be safe in the country?
We therefore condemn in the strongest term possible, the wanton and unprovoked killing of innocent Nigerians, most of them, young men and

women who still the future ahead and a lot to offer the nation.

In spite of these ugly occurrences, we wish to commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, who is barely eight months in office but has taken very strong measures to address insecurity and other criminal activities across the country. The recent marching order given by the President, to security agencies, to bring an end to the heinous crimes perpetrated these enemies of Nigeria as well as the proactive measures being adopted by the security agencies, are reassuring of the country’s capacity to stamp out the negative trend in no distant time.

We also believe that more hands are needed to effectively fight and bring to an end, banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and other crimes and criminalities in the country, especially as these aforementioned dangerous activities are planned by hoodlums who use forests and bushes as hideouts.

It is therefore pertinent to state that in order to effectively fight and defeat banditry, kidnapping and such other crimes, the federal government, as part of its general security architecture and strategy, should take deliberate and permanent measures, to ensure that forests are made uncomfortable for criminals to operate from.

The above can be achieved through empowerment and deployment of well-trained and equipped professionals, who are specially trained to combat criminalities planned and executed within and around forests.

We therefore express solidarity with the President on his recent statement that his administration is poised to work with a special security outfit that would be purely dedicated to fighting crimes that are planned and executed within and around the forests.

It is on that note that we, the youths, especially from the North Central, North West and other parts of Nigeria hereby urge our dear President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to sign the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) Bill into law.

From available records, the NHFSS has been in existence for over ten years, with well-structured command and control mechanism. The over 20,000 officers and men of the Service operating across the 36 states and the FCT have been at the mercy of individuals and groups who believe and appreciate their exploits and contributions to national security, especially on intelligence gathering and tactical operations within and around the forests.

Gladly, many state governors, including those of Kebbi, Imo, Plateau and others, are already working with operatives of NHFSS by providing them with operational vehicles and other necessary equipment to carry out their patriotic duties to fatherland.

By giving assent to the NHFSS Bill and thereby making it an autonomous government agency under the Ministry of Interior, the government would have succeeded in empowering the organization to carry out their statutory responsibility with new vigour, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President.

There is no doubt that making the NHFSS a government agency would attract added financial burden on the Federal Government, but the added cost cannot be compared with the huge losses incurred by the nation from banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities, including killing of hundreds of Nigerian citizens and other nationals, denting Nigeria’s image

at home and across the world which in turn affects the government’s drive to attract investors for the hundreds of solid mineral deposits and other opportunities in the country.

Aside from the above, the NHFSS is a potential source of massive employment of the teaming army of unemployed young people in the country. With the President’s assurances that opportunities would be opened to employ millions of youths by his administration, the NHFSS provides the government the wide window to achieve that, also knowing that employment of young people is one of the surest way to tackle insecurity by keeping them positively engaged and therefore off ‘the streets.’
I thank you for listening to us.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God Bless President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.
God Bless Nigerian Youths.

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