The Nigerian Army says it will not spare any persons, no matter how highly placed in society, found to be associated in aiding activities of bandits currently operating in a number of states in the North-West zone of the country.
Reports indicate that members of Operation Sahel Sanity, the Army’s special troops fighting to combat the menace of banditry, cattle rustling and kidnappings in the affected areas have made significant progress in the fight with the elimination of many bandits and arrest of several others.
“The aim of setting up this camp has actually been achieved and I am happy to say that this is a noble idea from the Chief of Army Staff,” the Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major-Gen. Gbolahan Oyefisobi, said on Wednesday at a media chat when he visited the Operation Sahel Sanity camp at Faskari, Katsina State.
According to him, “from what we have seen so far, the concept has actually yielded the desired results.
“We all know what was obtainable before the establishment of this camp as farmers were no longer able to go the farms and economic activities virtually came to a stop.
“But today, many of these farmers are back to the farms, socio-economic activities are picking up, normalcy has returned and the situation has been stabilised.
“That is why one can say at that the operation has been a huge success. It has indeed been a game changer for the Nigerian Army and the conduct of its operations.
“Any time that criminals like kidnappers are arrested, investigations don’t end there, there will always be further interrogations to determine whether they are the only perpetrators or whether there is a kingpin behind them.
“Where there is a kingpin, such a person will be arrested because nobody is above the law.
“All the security agencies have roles to play and even the civil society has a role to play in tackling these security issues.
“Currently, there is a collaboration between the Army and the other security agencies as we work together and through this measure and cooperation from the civil society, we hope we will be able to reverse the trend,” Oyefisobi said.
According to the military authorities, the Operation Sahel Sanity facility serves as coordinating centre for the military action against the hoodlums who also operate in parts of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
Communities in these areas share boundaries with the Rugu forest, said to be comparable to the dreaded Sambisa forest, an operational base of the Boko Haram insurgent group in Borno State.
Reports indicate that the operation has consistently carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes and confidence-building patrols across several communities in the affected states including farm and highway patrols.