HomeNewsNigeria's Security Experts Debate Tinubu's Plan to Deploy Forest Guards

Nigeria’s Security Experts Debate Tinubu’s Plan to Deploy Forest Guards

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As Nigeria continues to grapple with pervasive insecurity, particularly kidnapping and banditry, security experts have expressed differing views on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s proposal to deploy Forest Guards with enhanced training as a measure to bolster national security.

The debate arises amidst a recent incident where gunmen invaded the Army Post Housing Estate in Kurudu, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), abducting two individuals. This attack occurred just two days after the police launched a major operation against kidnappers and bandits in the Abuja area.

The FCT Police Command has remained silent on the incident, with spokesperson Josephine Adeh declining to comment and directing inquiries to the army. Despite the launch of a Special Intervention Squad (SIS) in the FCT to tackle the increasing insecurity, this latest incident has shaken residents’ confidence.

Security experts are divided over the Federal Government’s plan to deploy better-equipped Forest Guards. President Tinubu announced the initiative during a meeting with members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) at the State House, Abuja.

Former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Dennis Amachree, argued that the creation of Forest Guards would not effectively address kidnappings and banditry. He emphasized the need for specialized police and DSS units trained in hostage rescue and tactical operations.

Certified Protection Officer, Mr Frank Oshanugor, expressed skepticism about the plan’s feasibility, considering the sophistication of criminal activities and the challenges faced by existing security forces.

Oshanugor also called for a technological approach, suggesting the government assemble electronic security experts to collaborate with security agencies in tracking kidnappers operating from forest areas.

Dr. Wilson Esangbedo, former President of the Private Security Practitioners Association of Nigeria, noted that proper funding, training, and equipping of forest guards are essential for their success.

Managing Director of Transworld Security, Dr Victoria Ekhomu, welcomed the reintroduction of Forest Guards at the federal level, emphasizing their potential role in curbing banditry and kidnappings in forests since the Buhari administration.

Ekhomu urged the government to clear the forests of bandits using drones and helicopters before deploying Forest Guards and to maintain continuous surveillance using these technologies.

Security consultant and practitioner, Mr. Chuks Maha, believed that while Forest Guards might reduce kidnapping, they would not eliminate it due to the lucrative nature of the crime. He advocated for tougher legal penalties and a Joint Task Force approach to enhance the effectiveness of the guards.

In the midst of these discussions, Prince Adewole Adebayo, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the last presidential elections, condemned the recent surge in banditry and kidnapping, criticizing the government’s failure to protect its citizens.

The FCT Police Command confirmed the arrest of a notorious kidnapper in Abuja, while the military high command reported increased surveillance in communities terrorized by bandits.

The military is determined to address the threat of kidnapping gangs and terrorists, with recent operations in various parts of the FCT and neighboring states.

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