The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it will work closely with other security agencies to tackle the security situation in Niger State.
The Chief of the Air Staff, (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, gave the assurance on Monday when Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger visited him in Abuja.
“We are interested in adding value to your governance, We are also monitoring what is happening there.
“I want to assure you that the Nigeria Air force will take immediate steps.
“We already have have our quick response unit there in Minna with some of our special forces there.
“I believe it is something that can be done and will be done very soon. We are gathering the necessary intelligence and information that is required.
“We will not require anything from the state government in terms of any logistics or resources. We have resources given to us by the Federal Government, all that we require from you is intelligence.
“Give us intelligence, give us intelligence and we will use that intelligence with the resources available to us to ensure that we address these problems,” Abubakar said.
Earlier, Bello told the air chief that the northern part of Niger has been faced with security challenges recently.
Bello said his visit was to solicit further support of the NAF to address the menace of the bandits in Niger.
“We are faced with security challenges in the northern part of Niger state in the last two, three months.
“This ongoing challenges have been on for awhile but somehow with the support of security agencies, we have been able to maintain some calm and peace within those areas.
“But some how, in the last months, we have major influx of armed bandits we suspect are coming from Zamfara due to the amnesty in Zamfara. And they see Niger state even because of the vast forest.
“You may be aware that Niger state on its own covers about 10 per cent of Nigeria’s landmass, it is very difficult to police and to even patrol.
“More so that we have a lot of rivers and streams it is difficult for our patrol vehicles or even motorcycles at times to reach some areas within the state.
“My visit today is to come and see the chief of Air Staff to request additional support and assistance toward ensuring the security within those restricted areas in the forest that our ground troops do not have access to.”
He said based on his interaction with the joint security agencies, they are of the opinion that the easiest and safest mode of operation to address these challenges would be through air raid.
Bello disclosed that at the moment a lot of communities have been displaced by bandits.
“They have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in nearby town of Kagara where I think if my calculation is correct, we have not less than 1,000 IDPs.
“We are deep in concern that if we do not make effort for them to go back to their villages, then we will now start having some health hazards within the IDPs camp.
“We belief that the earlier they go back home will be better. But for them to go back home we must guarantee some sort of security in those areas,” he said.
He disclosed that he had earlier had opportunity to visit the inspector general of police on the same matter.