From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military to respond robustly through use of sustained massive operations to stop killings, kidnappings and destruction by terrorists and other criminal elements in Niger State.
A statement, yesterday, entitled: “President Buhari sets the ball rolling for a big military operation in Niger State” by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Buhari’s directive to achieving the strategic objective was given to Defence Headquarters, the tri-service headquarters of the military.
Shehu said the president as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces had set the ball rolling for a major military operation in Niger State which had faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.
President Buhari, in his message to the government and people of Niger State, said: “I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the state following recent security incidents.”
He restated that security was a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can the problems be routed.
“The Federal Government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” he said.
Last Tuesday, bandits invaded communities in Shiroro Local Government Area and killed no fewer than 13 people in an attack that took place during the day at Nakundna and Wurukuchi. The attack came less than two weeks after bandits attacked workers on Zungeru Dam, killed two persons and kidnapped three Chinese expatriates.
The Niger State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Wasiu Abiodun, also confirmed that suspected bandits/terrorists attacked some villagers who were harvesting crops on their farm at Nakundna village near Kaure in Shiroro council.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, said the worrisome part of the security challenges was the inability of farmers to harvest their farm produce, which might likely trigger food scarcity in the state. He said a coordinated and simultaneous attacks on the terrorists by security agents in the affected states would go a long way towards achieving success.