The FCT Administration has concluded plans to strengthen collaboration with the four neighbouring states with the territory to tackle cross border crimes.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike made this known while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Wike pointed out that the FCTA would not succeed in curbing the tide of insecurity without the collaboration of the neighbouring states.
He identified the states as Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna, stressing that criminals from Niger and Kaduna constitute the major challenge to FCT.
He said that on assumption to duty as the FCT minister, he was informed about the efforts of the FCTA with the neighbouring state to form a security coalition.
He explained that the coalition was to serve as a platform to support one another to reduce the level of insecurity.
He, however, pointed out that election petitions in the courts could not allow the coalition to come into fruition.
“Series of election petitions took the governors’ time, but now that most of the petitions have been settled, we will be having our first meeting next week.
“FCT will host the four states to fully implement the cooperation. If we don’t do that, it is going to be difficult.
“We need the support of Nasarawa state, Kogi state; we need the support of Niger state and Kaduna state. We need to work majorly with Kaduna state and Niger.
“There is no day or week you will not hear that bandits attacked residents in Niger, bandits struck in Kaduna, and when that happens, where do they go to?
“They go to the forest bothering FCT and the neighbouring states,” he said.
The minister said that although security personnel have tried within their capacity, to from time to time, comb the forest, they could not be stationed there on a permanent basis due to insufficient resources.
He noted that whenever the security personnel withdraw from the forest, the bandits come out of hiding to kidnap innocent citizens for ransom.
He said that the security collaboration would only work if states’ peculiarities were considered, adding that the security alliance would strongly consider what would work.
“We will look at what will work between FCT and Kogi, we will look at what will work with Niger and of course Kaduna state.
“Are we going to form a joint security outfit? Or just sharing intelligence? It will also mean that not only FCT will be providing the needed logistics support and all that, but also the affected states to fight crime.
“We will not just come together to have a meeting, no, there must be practical steps taken to reduce crime,” he said.
The minister expressed optimism that insecurity would soon be a thing of the past following the current security operations and the support from the Area Councils.
“We will continue to do the best that we can because there is no way we can eliminate criminality totally; it is not possible.
“What is important is to make sure we proactively take steps such that when crime occurs, we can either arrest the criminals or protect our people from them,” Wike said.
Seeks stringent laws to check crimes in FCT
Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Newsom Wike, has called for stringent laws to check crimes in the territory.
Wike, who made the call whiile addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, complained that the penalty in the current law was not enough to discourage criminality.
He said that currently, criminals were vandalizing solar powered street lights in the FCT, adding however, that the penalty when caught is N30,000.
He pointed out that if a vandal is arrested and the Court asks him to pay only N30,000 as punishment, the culprit would pay and go back to commit the same offence.
“What I am saying is that legislation should be put in place where it will no longer be easy for criminals to operate.
“If you are caught and the penalty is heavy, it gives you an option not to either participate in crime or pay a heavy penalty when caught.
“If for example you are caught and the penalty is N10 million, how many people can afford to pay N10 million for just one solar panel? So, that will be a deterrent.
“This is why the legislators need to amend the laws and not to give a loophole where criminals will capitalise on and continue to perpetuate crime,” he said.
The minister urged the Sen. Ireti Kingibe, representing the FCT in the Senate, to consider initiating a review of existing laws that were put in place to fight crime in the FCT to make the punishments stiffer.
According to him, such a move will complement the efforts of the security agencies by ensuring that whoever is caught committing any form of crime pays dearly for his or her actions.
He assured FCT residents that the government was not sleeping but working day and night with security agencies to address the security challenge affecting some parts of the city.