Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has instructed the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to quickly initiate joint operations that will rid the country of all forms of criminal activity.
The president’s directive comes against the backdrop of the latest round of bandit attacks, occurring this time in the Gandi District of Rabah Local Government Council, Sokoto State, an incident that reportedly claimed 30 lives.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said that the President, who condemned the killings in strong terms, was shocked and saddened by the latest violence which he described as “utterly evil, callous, reckless, thoughtless and reprehensible.”
According to the President: “the persistent killing of innocent and defenseless villagers by murderous thugs is unacceptable, and my administration is leaving no stone unturned to track down these mass murderers and bring them to justice.”
The President has also approved meetings between security and defence officials from Nigeria and neighbouring Niger Republic for joint operations that will sweep the forests traversing the two countries.
President Buhari assured the people of Sokoto and other areas affected by banditry that his administration’s commitment to security “remains undiminished” and that “efforts are being made to improve intelligence gathering and rapid emergency response strategies.”
“Let me reassure the people of Sokoto State and other parts of the country facing security challenges that no citizen will be abandoned to their fate. Security occupies the centre stage of my administration’s policies, and this commitment is being pursued with more vigour as we make efforts to provide more equipment to our security personnel to enable them perform the task effectively,’’ he added.
While consoling the families of the victims, President Buhari reassured the people that “criminals won’t be allowed to hold the citizens to ransom and that poverty is no excuse for any group to take up arms against innocent people and kill them in cold blood.”
Mr Buhari said that he will ensure the murderers, who are already in police custody, are speedily prosecuted in order to send a clear message that nobody will get away with such crimes.
President Buhari called on state and local governments to ensure the mass mobilization of citizens to assist security agents, stressing that security is everybody’s business.