The recent statement by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje at an APC event in Kaduna, regarding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to recruit a Forest Rapid Response Squad stationed within the forests, represents a significant step towards finally neutralizing the longstanding issue of insecurity in our forest nationwide.
For too long, terrorist groups disguised as bandits, oil-producing region activists, and separatist organizations have wreaked havoc in our forests, perpetrating heinous crimes against innocent civilians including killings, kidnappings, rapes, and displacements from their homes. The Northern Christian Youths Professionals recognize the urgent need for a solution that empowers the most victimized communities to actively participate in combating these criminals and safeguarding our nation.
The proposed Forest Rapid Response initiative, akin to the Forest Guards NCYP has been advocating for, holds great promise in taking the fight directly to the terrorists in the forest. The emphasis on training and deploying squads stationed within the forests, equipped with housing and infrastructural facilities, signifies a departure from the reactive approach of deploying troops only after attacks occur.
We commend President Tinubu’s commitment to this proactive strategy, which aligns with our longstanding call for a permanent and community-centered approach to combating forest terrorism. However, as a group that based our campaign on and urged Nigerians to vote for the President because he promised this kind of security initiative in his Renewed Hope Manifesto in 2022, we owe it to the President to strongly advise him that the focus of this initiative remains on recruiting individuals from forest communities and rural areas.
These individuals possess invaluable knowledge of the terrain and a deep understanding of local dynamics, which will enable us to finally drive criminals out of our forests.
The level of commitment that local communities bring to such initiatives has consistently proven effective in solving problems. We also call on the National Chairman of the ruling party, APC, to mobilize Chairmen of other political parties including TraditionaL Rulers and Religious leaders
 to impress upon the government the importance of prioritizing the recruitment and training of individuals from forest communities.
With these people, we can restore peace in the forests, and our farmlands, and resettle people back to their homes. Examples of this effectiveness have been demonstrated by initiatives such as the Civilian Joint Task Force in Borno State and the hunters of Adamawa State during the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency—Vice President Kashim Shettima knows this.
In conclusion, we stand ready to support President Tinubu’s initiative and collaborate with the government in achieving lasting peace and security for all Nigerians. Together, we can empower our communities to reclaim our forests and protect our people from the scourge of terrorism.
Isaac Abrak
Chairman Northern Christian Youths Professionals.

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