Gov. Dikko Radda of Katsina State has commended the Nigerian Army for the efforts of troops in tackling insecurity and restoring peace and stability in the state.
Radda gave the commendation, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the 17 Brigade in Katsina had been supportive to his administration in managing and tackling insecurity that had affected the state.
The governor said the visit was to seek for more support and discuss better ways to collaborate to tackle banditry, kidnapping and criminality in Katsina State.
According to him, Katsina is such a vulnerable state because it borders Niger Republic for a span of over 200 kilometers and over 200 kilometers of forest in about eight frontline local government areas.
“Because of the vulnerability and the number of the communities within those local governments in smaller unit, it makes it more easier for the bandits to attack.
“That has also moved down to about other 11 local government that borders those eight local governments that are also getting one kind of attack or the other through the forest.
“So, I think I will not ask for much but I want to urge the Nigerian Army to expand the operation in Katsina State to those local governments to help us to address the issue of insecurity,” he said.
Radda said the government had established the Community Watch Officers having considered the need to use the locals appropriately to share intelligence with the military and other security agencies to protect their communities against attacks.
According to him, the people are undergoing training at the moment by the military and the police towards engaging them in most civilised rules of engagement in whatever capacity.
“We realise that we need to use the locals to achieve the maximum security in our society because the villagers are very important in terms of engagement, local intelligence and community support.
“Without getting to the support of the locals, the military, police and the rest of them will not be able to function effectively.
“When there is synergy between the civilian and conventional security agencies, it will go a long way in helping to reduce the effect of the banditry in the society,” he added.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja, commended the governor for promoting excellent relationship with army formations and units in the state.
He noted that reports from the brigade had been cheering and encouraging.
Lagbaja also commended the initiative of the government to galvanise civilian contribution to the military efforts to combat the security challenges in the state, through the establishment of community watch officers.
According to the COAS, the position of the Nigerian army has always been to ensure that the community watch officers in Katsina are properly structured.
“I also want to pledge that the Nigerian army will work with this community watch officers.
”Because when they come on board, they will be a plus to the operations and activities of the army units,” he said.
Lagbaja also pledged to look into the request of the governor to expand the coverage of army operations in the state, as well as look at how army could provide the needed counterpart enablers.
He said the army had identified a need to expand the troops holding of operational data to enhance the effectiveness of its formations and units in the field.
“We have observed the gaps that need to be covered for our formations and units to be more effective in the field and I promise you that we will take appropriate actions going forward,” he added.