The Chairman of the Abuja Chapter of ASIS International, Kabiru Adamu on Sunday asked the government to arrest and prosecute all traditional leaders found culpable of aiding armed bandits in some North West and North Central states.
He made this known during a press conference in Abuja, on the security challenges of kidnapping and banditry in the country.
He said, “As security professionals from diverse expertise, it is our view that there are ominous indicators that attest to the emergence of new security threat factor.
“The entire country risks been engulfed in crisis of immense proportions if urgent and deliberate measures are not taken,” he said.
Adamu said the success of the bandits is because of the porous borders and ungoverned spaces that pervaded the region.
He said bandits were also succeeding because of the high return on investment for kidnapping and the lack of political will to address the menace.
He said the seeming lack of capacity by the security forces and the quasi-official sanctioning of payment of ransom has acted as catalysts to escalate the crime.
Adamu said it has been estimated that approximately N1billion was paid in ransom within the last few months.
“With these kinds of funds, more weapons will be procured and more youngsters will be lured into the “trade” due to its lucrativeness and perceived “high social status” of those that have made their bones.
“We appreciate and commend the efforts of the security agencies, some of whom have paid the supreme price.
“However, to contend with these emerging threats in the North West and North Central regions in combination with other existing crisis could be quite challenging.
“The implication is that this region will fall into a perpetual cycle of violence like we have seen in the North East and South-South regions in a classical ‘conflict trap.’
“The effect of this on the economy particularly on food security and poverty level of the people can better be imagined,” he said.
He said ASIS as an international body of industrial security specialists are available to provide expertise in this regard.
He said, “The government should also establish a modern and well-equipped intelligence fusion centre in Abuja and across the six geo-political zones of the country to aid security deployment.”