Senate decries worsening insecurity in Kwara and Niger communities 



By Haruna Salami

The Senate on Tuesday bemoaned the worsening insecurity in Kainji Lake National Park and existential threat to communities in Kaiama, Baruten and Borgu Local Government Areas of Kwara and Niger States. 

This was brought to the fore by Senator Umar Sadiq Suleiman (Kwara North) in a motion during plenary in the upper legislative chamber and co-sponsored by Sen. Abdullahi, Aliyu Sabi (Niger North).

Senator Suleiman noted that kidnapping and other forms of criminality are becoming a recurrent decimal in communities close to Kainji Lake National Park, particularly Nanu, Nuku, Woro, Kale in Kaiama and Yashikira in Baruten Local Government of Kwara State and some part of Borgu Local Government in Niger State.

 

“This has led to people living in perpetual fear of either being kidnapped and or Killed by kidnappers suspected to be armed bandits. 

He further noted that Kanji Lake National Park covers an area of about 5,341km square with deep forest vegetation. “This park which is reserved for tourism is becoming fort-filed in harboring bandits and other forms of criminals.

Unfortunately, “the park rangers meant to man this park could no longer protect the forest reserve as they have lost control of the park to terrorists”, Suleiman noted. 
The Lawmaker expressed worries that people living in these communities are predominantly farmers and their means of livelihood is threatened by the activities of these criminals, as many are leaving their villages and farms to seek refuge in the towns that will soon be threatened as well, if nothing is done about this insecurity situation. 

“In fact some communities have started paying the criminals some sort of tax to be allowed to stay safe.

“The first incident occurred in year 2008 which led to the death of several Local Vigilante group members in an attempt to dislodge these criminals from the Kainji Lake National Park. 

“There is a Forward Operating Base (FOB) established immediately after the first attacks and subsequent approval for the establishment of Military barrack in the local government, but these attacks keeps happening with reckless abandon. 

He said this year 2022 alone, several cases of kidnapping were reported in villages like Nanu, Nuku, Woro, and so on with several people reported dead. Others who returned were released after the payment of millions of naira. 

The Senate accordingly resolves to mandate the Committees on Defence; Finance and National Planning to jointly inter-face with the Ministry of Defence to determine status of the establishment of Army Barrack in Kaiama. 

It also urged the military authorities to carry out a comprehensive onslaught on bandits and other criminal elements within Kainji Lake National Park, especially Kaiama, Karonzi -Yashikifa in Baruten Local Government, and Wawa and Babanna areas in Niger state. 

The upper chamber further urged National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to victims in the affected communities