GOVERNOR Abubakar Sani Bello has warned individuals or group of people in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them to the appropriate authority within seven days. Bello, who gave the directive yesterday in a statewide broadcast on the recent security challenges in some communities in Bosso Local Government Area, also disclosed the composition of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the military/communal clash. He warned of grave consequences for failure to surrender such illegal firearms, stressing that the state will not be a safe haven for criminals. The governor observed that proliferation of small arms and light weapons are on the increase in rural communities unlike in the past when gun running was limited to metropolitan cities. He bemoaned the invasion of some villages by cattle rustlers, kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers and other nefarious activities being committed by criminally minded persons. “We must rise now to fight this menace. To achieve this task successfully, we must pay attention to what happens in our homes, villages and communities. We must make security of our environment our business by reporting any suspicious movement or activities around us to security agencies,” he said. On the restriction of motorcycles from 7pm to 6am in the state capital and major cities, the governor said the law is still in place, adding that he has directed stop and search operations as a result of the prevailing security challenges in the state. He urged the people to bear with the attendant discomfort they will be subjected to as the decision to introduce these measures were taken in the interest of all. Bello regretted the military and communal clash that resulted in the loss of lives and property in Bosso Local Government Area, maintaining that the sad incident was not a true reflection of what the people and the state are known for. “The sad and emerging violent culture in our various communities is not a true reflection of who we are or what we stand for and believe in as a people. We cannot at this crucial point in our development allow minor differences that can be mutually discussed and resolved to bring us to daggers drawn at one another,” he said. The governor called on security agencies to be professional in carrying out their constitutional responsibilities and enjoined them to intensify efforts in sustaining peace and security through inter-agency collaboration and intelligence gathering. He also urged security agents to build a new, robust and mutually beneficial relationship with various critical stakeholders in the state. He commended the role played by the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Faruk Bahago, for ensuring that peace returns to the communities and also directed the Niger State Emergency Maintenance Agency, NSEMA, to provide relief materials to the affected families. Governor Bello appealed to those who fled their villages in the wake of the military/ communal clash to return to home as normalcy has returned, promising them of adequate security.