John Adams, Minna
Worried by the continued onslaught by armed bandits in communities in Shiroro, Munya and Paikoro local government areas of Niger State, the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has ordered the immediate deployment of additional security to the affected areas.
The Governor also directed that the deployment of the additional security will be backed by 24-hour air surveillance across the three localities currently under siege from the armed bandits.
The Governor in a statement in Minna on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, while condemning the “inhuman activities” of the bandits, said that air and land surveillance by security agents “is to fish and flush out the bandits terrorizing the communities.”
The Governor’s statement is coming barely 24 hours after armed bandits numbering about 50 in the early hours of Saturday overran no fewer than five communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, killing 11 people and rustling over 300 cattle.
The bandits, who invaded the communities at about 6:00 am, ransacked the entire area as they moved from house to house without any resistance for hours.
Communities that were affected in the latest attack are Kudodo, Galapai, Dnakpala, Makera and Dnalgwa.
The Governor expressed regret over the continued loss of lives and property of the people on a daily basis, pointing out that the criminals were taking advantage of the vastness and difficult terrain of the forest land to unleash terror on innocent people.
He said the state government will fully support the joint security task force to chase the armed bandits out of the state, stressing that “henceforth there will be no hiding place for these criminals whom we understand are cattle rustlers.”
While sympathizing with the victims of the recent armed banditry attacks in the affected communities, Governor Sani Bello directed that stringent military action be taken to bring an end to the attacks in the state.
Governor Bello disclosed that the insecurity in the state is made more difficult “because bandits are crossing over from neighbouring states of Zamfara and Kaduna states into the axis and to create mayhem by dislodging innocent inhabitants and collecting their cows.”
He, however, appealed to the people of the affected communities to remain calm and cooperate and assist the security agencies in the area by providing credible intelligence report that will uncover the hideouts of the bandits.
Meanwhile, a coalition of 54 civil societies under the aegis of the Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria has condemned what it called “the terrorist attack in Niger East Senatorial District.”
In a statement, the chairperson, Adams Otakwu, condemned the act in strong terms, saying that “residents of Niger-East Senatorial District came under the fierce attack by satanically-inspired emissaries.
“We face a grave danger as a nation and if this trend is not immediately intercepted, it will lead to serious disorder. We call on security chiefs and the Federal Government to reinforce security in the zone and across other regions of the country,” the statement read.