The Oasis Reporters
October 28, 2018
This post starts on the assumption that we all have to be sane and rational people to make informed decisions.
The abbreviation, “JTF” stands for Joint Task Force. It has a military origin and simply means components of the armed forces ( Army, Navy, Air Force ) or any other element of the security forces operating together (Jointly) in an operation.
The issue of Civilian JTF came about in Nigeria in the early days of the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the North East of this country when the number of troops on the ground was inadequate. Local civilians mainly hunters made themselves available to help out given their knowledge of the terrain. Further down the line, these civilian hunters knew and could very easily identify those living within their communities who were likely to be Boko Haram members.
I do not have any details of how the Civilian JTF have performed in the North East but I guess that they must have performed pretty well. They were armed mostly with locally fabricated weapons which included dane guns as well as bows and arrows but never with military style assault weapons.
The concept of deploying these local hunters having been proven to be effective in the North East theatre of operation was replicated here in Kaduna State particularly in the Birnin Gwari general area to hunt out armed bandits and cattle rustlers. They too were not armed with military style weapons. Their main task has been to help the military thinly deployed on security duties there as well as the Civil Police. In Kaduna State they were generally called Vigilantes.
Early in the year, there was the controversy surrounding the use of men in military uniforms who stood guard while the property of a Senator of the Republic was demolished at No 11B Sambo Rd, here in Kaduna simply on account of political differences with the dictator of a governor. The military authorities denied the participation of their personnel. The Police Commissioner at that time had denied deploying his men for such a duty. Therefore men in military uniforms whose true identity is still unknown to this day for sure do portend a danger to the society in a general sense.
I did a post then outlining some of the dangers associated with deploying people whose identity is only known by those who recruited, trained and are deploying them even as political activities are around the corner. It would appear that the dictator may have created a paramilitary outfit, members of which are driving around town in white hilux vans armed with military assault rifles and claiming to be Civilian JTF. I live in Kaduna and I am not aware of when such an outfit was officially created in this State.
Knowing how desperate the dictator is, about holding on to power in Kaduna State could these characters calling themselves Civilian JTF not be created on purpose for the pursuit of political ends?
The manner they are already flaunting themselves about town with dangerous weapons, will they not constitute a threat to the smooth conduct of elections in the State?
I simply cannot see any use for any other security outfit outside of the Military, the Police and the Civil Defence Corps. Given that the dictator’s Civilian appear licensed to operate, what particular responsibility have been assigned to them?
Who is coordinating the activities of these armed civilians? In the recent crises in Kaduna, these gangs have been accused of the summary execution of 3.youths in the Narayi area of Kaduna State.
Arising from this extra judicial killings, by what law are the so-called Civilian JTF empowered to kill?. I really do not think we need the services of these murderous band possibly put together by the dictator for political reasons. We are well aware of how the dictator or his agents have at different times deployed hoodlums and other sundry criminals to disrupt political gatherings by those the government views as political opponents.
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Police should be in a position to shed some light on the functionality of the so-called Civilian JTF and how they key into the Kaduna State security architecture. It is very important that the ordinary citizens are well informed about the requirement of the Civilian JTF to avoid any potential conflict. The chain of command of this outfit must be known within the communities to which they are deployed.
I really do not see any need for this outfit as we get closer to electioneering campaigns since they could very easily be deployed against real or potential political opponents. The dictator must know that it is his style of leadership coupled with his highly incendiary pronouncements that is largely responsible for the crises in this State and a resort to the proliferation of security outfits is not the answer to his many troubles.
Written by Col. Gora Dauda (rtd).
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria.