Governor Bello’s Giant Strides in Containing Insecurity in Kogi
By Nafisat Bello
Kogi state is geographically located at the middle of the great country called Nigeria. The Confluence State shares boundaries with about 10 other states, some of which are suffering the worst form of insecurity in recent memory.
The fact that the state is not on the list of the country’s troubled states with heavy military occupation is due to the youthful vigour, vibrant alertness and no-nonsense attitude of Governor Yahaya Bello.
The visionary governor started his second term by making sure he consolidated on some of the human capital development policies and projects that he commenced in his first term, to ensure that millions of Kogi youths are gainfully engaged and are not attracted to crime.
He also empowered the local community chiefs and elders to have formidable vigilance groups who have been doing a yeoman’s job in preventing kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry in the state, and also complementing the efforts of the Police. In fact, due to Governor Bello’s excellent Public Relations skills and the support system he created for the officers and men, the Police Command has been very supportive of the administration in ridding the state of all forms of security breaches.
Unlike in other states where the local community vigilance groups are always in conflict with the Police Command, Governor Bello has made the two groups work together for the peace and safety of Kogites. In Kogi state, in intelligence gathering, strategic thinking and operations, the Police authorities lead while the vigilance groups follow and they maintain a mutually-beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The former do not see the latter as outlaws, they see them as partners-in-progress whom they need to give adequate coverage to the local communities and the hinterlands.
In recent times, security challenges are evident in almost every part of the country especially in the North. It started some years ago in the northeast, spread to the northwest and now the north central is feeling the heat as killings and mass abduction of both children and adults have become an everyday occurrence.
Governor Bello has however ensured that even in the middle of troubled states, Kogi is arguably the most peaceful state in the country.
As part of Governor Bello’s efforts to tackle incessant kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways, he in 2016 procured over 200 patrol vehicles equipped with communication gadgets which were distributed to all security agencies in the state to enable them embark on vigorous daily patrol on the highways.
He also established the Nigeria Army Forward Operations (NAFO) based at Achoze in Okene local government area, a move that has reduced crime to the barest minimum in an area that used to be the headquarters of kidnapping and armed robbery in the state.
In addition, Governor Bello established the Kogi State Vigilante Service where about 3,500 people who had retired from various security outfits were engaged and trained as vigilantes to provide security in rural areas.
The governor has also been a consistent advocate of strong connection with the grassroots as a way of curbing insecurity. It’s a strategy that has worked wonders in Kogi state which he proudly preaches to his colleagues to replicate in their respective states.
While the governor has done well in several other areas, security seems to be his greatest achievement as majority of indigens and residents of the state consider Kogi very lucky to have Governor Bello at this critical time.