Plateau Killings: Metchie begs President Tinubu to Sign NHFSS bill Into law

Plateau Killings: Metchie begs President Tinubu to Sign NHFSS bill Into law
January 08 09:31 2024 Print This Article

By Martin Odiete, Abuja

The African Director of the International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA), Dr John Metchie, has urged President Bola Tinubu to give assent to the Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) Bill, to empower and embolden Officers and Men of the Service fight crimes and criminalities carried within forests across the country.

The NHFSS Bill has been passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, waiting for the President’s assent.

Metchie who is also the Deputy Commander General of NHFSS in charge of Technical Services, made the appeal in a statement on Sunday, while reacting to the Christmas Eve attacks on some communities in Plateau state as well as similar assaults in other parts of the North Central.

While commending the President, the Nigerian Army, the Police and other security agencies for their response and control of the situation in Plateau and other affected areas, Metchie said a permanent solution is needed to ensure that criminals like bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and ritualists, among others, are denied access to forests and farms where they hide before and after carrying out their nefarious activities.

Metchie, who also serves as the Prime Minister of the Anambra State Association of Town Union (ASATU), said although signing the NHFSS Bill into law would attract an additional financial burden to the government, the cost cannot be compared to the unquantifiable loss of human lives, burning of communities and destruction of their ways and means of livelihood caused by the attacks, year in, year out.

The above he said, is in addition to the negative effect of insecurity which he said is the primary cause of investor flight with serious consequences on the nation’s economy.

According to Metchie, the solution to banditry and other crimes and criminalities committed within forests is the permanent deployment of well-trained professional hunters and forest security operatives across the country, to work with the Police, Army, DSS and other security agencies, especially in the area of intelligence gathering and sharing as well as apprehension of criminals.

He said: “My first reaction to the Christmas Eve killing is some communities in Plateau State is to condemn the act, not only as a Nigerian and for our collective humanity, but as someone who was directly affected.

“This is because Plateau is my second home. My family has a long history with Plateau and especially Jos where I grew up. As I speak with you, I have a home in Jos and my wife is from the state. So, you can imagine how directly affected that I am.

“As the African Director, IAWPA, I have been working round the clock, alongside regional and national leaders of the global body, preaching peace and a violence-free world across Africa and Nigeria in particular. Therefore, an act of violence in any form is an affront to our vision of a crime-free world.

“Having said that, I wish to once again, urge our President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu, GCFR, to give assent to the NHFSS Bill so that it can become law.

“Already, with the support and endorsement of some state governors, NHFSS operatives are working with the Police, Army, DSS and other security agencies in the war against crimes and criminalities, especially in terms of intelligence gathering and distribution. NHFSS officials have been playing pivotal roles in the apprehension of criminals and the prevention of crimes.

“What is needed now, and urgently too, is for the President to assent to the Bill so that NHFSS operatives would have the boldness to discharge their duties without fear or favour as this would go a long way in curbing incidences of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, banditry, ritual killing and other similar crimes in the country.”

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