Gana’s Agro-Rangers Initiative: A Stitch in TimeAs a result of the initiative by the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu few years ago and the implementation to the letter by the management of NSCDC and other sister security agencies in the North, cattle rustling has been a thing of the past. This same initiative can be used by security agencies to nip in the bud the incessant banditry and kidnappings across the length and breadth of the country for its grassroots’ appeal and workability of this initiative which is in tandem with the traditional institutions and the people at the local level in the North.In a press release issued by the Centre for Media Advocacy (CMA), Executive Director, Comrade Sule Inuwa and Director Media, Comrade Gabriel Gwajime, the organization wondered why this initiative is not applied in other security sectors as it is grassroots-oriented, working with the local people in the community and farmlands across the North. The populist approach of this initiative has helped to fish out hoodlums and bad eggs within a given community as the traditional rulers work with the members of the community to rid their domain of any unwanted group operating against the beliefs and peaceful co-existence of the community. This measure accordingly is to project farmers against incessant attacks by bandits and kidnappings so as to enable them cultivate their farmlands for the provision of food security for the nation; which the deployment by the NSCDC has ascribed to mobilize farmers and build their confidence to enable them carry out their activities without fear.CMA reasons that as credible as it is, that the agro-rangers scheme was designed to secure ranches, animals and grazing areas so as to encourage investments in agriculture, boost food security and the security of lives of the people in any given country. This has gone a long way to help protect our local and foreign investments in agriculture, thereby giving us more for export earnings and boosting of local industries for growth as well as offering employment opportunities to our teeming youth population.By the foregoing, the organization views the agro-allied initiative as a welcome development by the NSCDC as it has been known to become the cynosure of all eyes and the brain-child of the Federal Government in the successful reduction of herdsmen and farmers conflicts in the country as well as the reduction in the activities of kidnappers. CMA has also learnt that, to date, more than 7,500 operatives have been deployed to red-spots and sensitive areas within the length and breadth of the country and understands that more are still undergoing training in various facilities across the country so as to be ahead of the challenges posed by this menace. This, the organization is convinced, will lead to the commencement of a directorate and new command under the scheme to make it more efficient and effective in carrying out its mandate.
CMA therefore reiterates its encouragement by the recent deployment of 1,500 personnel to farmlands under the agro-rangers scheme during this cropping season to provide security while 750 personnel are currently undergoing training before being deployed to the eight bandit-prone areas in Katsina State. The organization notes that it in his avowed determination and commitment to rid the country of vandalisms, kidnappings, cattle rustlings, banditry and criminal elements, the NSCDC Commandant-General has also deployed officers to secure schools in the North-East region as well as deployed agro-ranger officers to physically secure agro-allied investments both domestic and international, which action has attracted commendation from Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari for the bold initiate.
CMA notes with satisfaction that the agro-rangers collaboration with the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) is also a laudable initiative as the operatives recently raided major markets in Gwagwalada Abuja where fake and poor quality and adulterated seeds are on sale. These seeds, according to the Director-General of NASC, Dr. Philip Ojo, are meant to be destroyed at the forthcoming Farmers’ Field Day in Abuja.
CMA hereby appeals to organizations, public-spirited individuals, institutions and the international community to support President Buhari’s drive to modernize the NSCDC through adequate funding and partnership in the area of manpower development, intelligence gathering, capacity building and the procurement of equipment and infrastructure, because of its strategic importance to the socio-economic development of the nation.