Claims by the Department of State Service, (DSS), that the Kaduna State government failed to act on intelligence that Boko Haram and bandits were working in collaboration to set up cells in the state has pitted the agency with the State government.
Although the DSS said this has resulted in the frequent bandits’ attacks in Kaduna State, especially considering the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train that claimed eight passengers, injured 41 and kidnapped scores of others, as well as the attack on a military base in which 17 soldiers were killed, the State government said it was not its responsibility to act on intelligence it generated.
The DSS, in a 2020 memo, said it alerted the Kaduna State government of plans by Boko Haram/bandits to set up cells in the State. However, the State government, in a 2021 security report, said it had on several occasions sent intelligence reports to both the military and the Nigerian Railway Corporation, alerting them to stop trains from operating at night on the Abuja-Kaduna route.
A source close to the government said talks of not acting on intelligence that bandits/Boko haram were out to set up camps in Rigasa and Birnin-Gwari, where the bandits are very active now, were false.
”Kaduna does not have the powers over security matters, it is the military. We don’t have our own military and all we can do is pass on intelligence to them, which we often do. It is the duty of the DSS to generate actionable intelligence, which should be sent to the military for action and not the duty of the state government”, said the source.
The source said the intelligence contained in a letter dated November 2, 2021, and addressed to the Rigasa train station drew attention to a thorough review of train operations on the route.
Part of the report of the state report read: ”Kaduna State government strategies to address the security challenges affecting the state have been sustained throughout 2021.
”These are: Strengthening the human intelligence-gathering networks in critical areas; providing material and logistic support to federal security agencies; empowering Kaduna State Peace Commission to engage communities and incline them towards a peaceful resolution of differences; and supporting strong responses to areas considered main flashpoints in the State.
The report further read: ”Kaduna State government has deployed institutional and collaborative measures to address security challenges in the State. It established a mandate ministry to coordinate and support federal security agencies in their security operations.
”The position of Kaduna State government remains the same: recourse to the law remains vital in tackling inter-communal violence”.
In the 2-and-half page report, the intelligence report detailed the areas of the State where it said Boko Haram had established cells and was actively recruiting members, mainly bandits of Fulani extraction who swore allegiance to Boko Haram.
The report cited these cells as Doka/Rijana, Kuduru, Kubau and Gagafada forests, spanning five local government areas of Chikun, Igabi, Giwa, Birnin Gwari and Kubau.
Rijana and Birnin-Gwari are now notorious for the activities of kidnappers and bandits. The recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train was carried out around the Rijana axis of the State, while the attack on a military base was in Birnin Gwari.
Kaduna State has been in the news over the last two weeks because of the worsening security situation, which culminated in the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train by bandit-terrorists.