CG, NSCDC, Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi
By Raphael Ekpang
A civil society group, Centre for Media Advocacy (CMA), has lauded the Agro Rangers Initiative conceived by the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi. This is as a result of the feedbacks, responses and proficiency of the initiative across the Nigerian states, as various states’ Chief Executives from one to the other are busy initiating and activating the Agro-Rangers concept due to the seriousness attached to the reduction of clashes between farmers and herders, critical assets and tackling issues that impact directly on food security.
In a press release jointly signed by the organization’s Executive Director, Comrade Sule Inuwa and Head of Media and Publicity, Comrade Gabriel Gwajime, CMA noted that the Agro-Rangers Initiative is a grassroots-based approach and solution in response to bringing under control the unfortunate clashes, killings and wanton destruction of lives and property in the country. This is because the officers have been trained to intervene in the clashes between the farmers/villagers and herdsmen to the barest minimum, as well as checkmate the activities and excesses of all the parties concerned to ensure peaceful co-existence for the country’s rapid growth and development.
The organization observed that the scheme was designed to also give physical protection to agro-allied investments (both local and foreign), which includes farmlands, livestock, silos, ranches and everything that is related to the nation’s agricultural economy, as well as the protection of farmers and owners of ranches and the reduction of the incessant clashes of herders and farmers in the society in order to also boost Nigeria’s food security and local industries for employment opportunities to the youthful population.
According to the release, since the Agro-Rangers Initiative was launched by the Federal Government following the escalation in farmers-herders clashes across the country, which resulted in loss of lives and property and the success so far achieved by the scheme, there have been a lot of calls for the initiative to be introduced in all parts of the country.
CMA noted that it was not surprising that success has been recorded so far from various states’ chief executives from across the geo-political regions from Borno, Bauchi, Enugu, Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Ebonyi and other states of the Federation are calling for the inauguration of the Agro-Rangers Initiative to help contain the trend of insecurity so as to give local and foreign investors the enabling environment to do their businesses.
This same initiative can be used by security agencies to nip in the bud the incessant banditry and kidnappings in the country, due to its grassroots appeal and workability which is in tandem with the community, traditional institutions and the people at the local level. The populist approach of this initiative has helped to fish out hoodlums, rustlers, bandits and other bad eggs within a given community to rid their domains/communities of any unwanted group operating against the beliefs and peaceful co-existence of such areas.
CMA has stressed that the idea behind the setting up of the scheme has been seriously adhered to by the Commandant-General, assuring potential farmers in crops, animal production and other agricultural farmers of safety and security of their lives and farm products as due process is being followed and these are of no financial implication whatsoever. The organization added that the Agro-Rangers officers are fully aware of their duties as they have been thoroughly trained to withstand any eventualities and are focused on the tasks ahead.
CMA has also reliably gathered that, to date, more than 7,500 operatives have been deployed to red-spots and sensitive areas within the lengths and breadth of the country. These areas include: Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, schools at the North-East geo-political zone, major oil installations in the Niger Delta, the protection of farmlands across the country and the enormous efforts put in place to arrest solid minerals thieves across the country as well as the stoppage of black market sales of oil/petroleum products.
The organization therefore commends the NDCDC CG, Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi, for this bold initiative and scheme launched and in his efforts at keeping to the laid down rules of engagement at this critical time of Nigeria’s history. The initiative has enabled NSCDC to forestall farmers and herders clashes as well as the protection of critical national assets across the country.
In view of the foregoing, CMA hereby calls on the Federal Government to fund this initiative by the training and retraining of the officers, including the capacity development of the Agro-Rangers scheme so as to boost their productivity, self-esteem and manpower development. CMA therefore calls on this vision of the CG to be implemented in all ramifications and be sustainable.
CMA alludes the successes achieved as a result to the recent marching orders given by the CG to the 36 state Commandants and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to brace up to the challenges ahead and lay more emphasis on intelligence gathering mechanism and liaise properly with the grassroots, so as to be their “eyes and ears” and be able to nip in the bud these challenges confronting the nation. The organization called for the support of Nigerians to give information to the security operatives so as to build a virile, peaceful and conducive environment as well as enjoined public-spirited organizations and individuals to partner and collaborate with the NSCDC in manpower development and funding of its major activities to reduce the vandalism of critical assets across the country.