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Saturday, April 13, 2024

…As Nigerian Hunters And Forest Security Service Establishment Bill Awaits Presidential Assent

 

BY RAYMOND OZOJI, Awka

As the bill establishing the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) awaits President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assent to formalise its operations in the country, it is of paramount importance to state that the role of hunters in fighting crimes and criminalities can not be overemphasized because hunters have proven themselves to be credible security alternatives due to their vast experience as well as knowledge of the bushes and forests.

While other paramilitary outfits like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigeria Correctional Service and some others exist to compliment the efforts of the Nigeria Police, the Military and others, the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) could come in handy to provide local security working in concert with local vigilantes in rural areas to beef up community policing.

Hunters have exhibited gallantry in their onslaughts against criminal elements through destruction of kidnappers’ den in the forests, rescue of kidnap victims from captivity, discovery of dead bodies in the forests and provision of local surveillance in the hinterlands.

In Anambra State, for instance, hunters have done great exploits especially with the rescue of a woman who was kidnapped in Aguleri-otu Anambra-East Local Government Area. The need for Nigerians to press for the signing of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service Establishment Bill into law would be ground-breaking as hunters are dependable security deposits.

Reports have it that Nigerian hunters have also proved their mettle in security operations in other states of the federation such as Kogi, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Bauchi, other states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Hence the formalization of the operations of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) by the presidency would further intensify the war against criminal elements across the country especially criminal elements hiding in the bushes and forests across Nigeria.

Local security is germane and the need to deploy the services of the officers and men of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) would be proferring suitable solutions to security breaches in rural communities like Osumoghu, Lilu, Isseke, Mbosi, Azia, Ubuluisiuzo in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State because hunters are familiar with local terrains.

Rural communities in Bauchi state and other Northern states are beneficiaries of the exploits of hunters as they have helped tremendously to reclaim most communities in the North captured by kidnappers and other daredevils. In the last few months, hunters have established their presence in the FCT where the NHFSS operatives have fought gallantly to rid the nation’s capital city off hoodlums lurking around in surrounding bushes.

Given the foregoing senario, it would be near perfect situation to infer that the formal recognition of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) as it concerns the signing of its Establishment Bill into law by the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led federal government would be more proactive approach to combating forest crimes across the Nigerian soil.

To this end, a group under the aegis of North Central Youth Security Forum (NCYSF) had also called on the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to assent to the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service Bill already passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives without further procrastinations. The North Central Youth Security Forum also made case for NHFSS to be an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Moreso, many state governors like those of Kebbi, Imo, Plateau and others are already working with operatives of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) by providing them with operational vehicles and other necessary equipment to carry out their patriotic services to their fatherland. From available records too, the NHFSS has been in existence for more than 10 years with well-structured and command control mechanisms.

Over 20,000 officers and men of the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service operating across the 36 states and the FCT Abuja have been at the mercy of individuals and groups who believe and appreciate their exploits, gallantry and contributions to national security especially on intelligence gathering and technical operations within and around forests.

Hunters have displayed their bravery and intrepidity in the North-west and North-central especially with the resurgence of violent crimes in Plateau, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa and the federal capital territory Abuja have experienced a rise in killings and kidnapping for ransom by terror groups. The mass killings during the 2023 Christmas Eve that resulted in the death of over 200 people was one incident still fresh in the minds of Nigerians.

As a result of the disturbing trend, stakeholders in the security sector have called for more attention by security agencies to the Northern region of the country. Some of such stakeholders were the North-Central and North-West Youths who expressed solidarity with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who declared to work with special security outfits purely dedicated to fighting crimes that are planned and executed within and around the forests.

They therefore urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to please sign the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) Bill into law. They believe that the ratification of the hunters bill meant that the bushes and forests will no longer be safe heaven for criminal elements unleashing terror and mayhem on Nigerian citizens. They also believe that it would be a bold step taken in the right direction, should the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service be domiciled in the forestry ministry.

The Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS) headed by the Commander General Dr. Joshua Osatimehin, have endeared themselves to the Nigerian populace by their prompt rescue operations. They have also won the endorsements and confidence of the Nigerian people by their bravery and rapid response missions which has saved more lives since inception.

It will therefore be a very wise decision for Mr. President to sign the Nigerian Hunters and Forest Security Service Establishment Bill into law without further delay to enable them to contribute their quota to national security.

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