The governors of Niger and Kaduna States, Alhaji Sani Bello and Malam Nasir El-Rufai have hailed the successes recorded by the Nigerian Army in dealing with banditry in the North West and North Central part of the country.
The governors gave the commendation during a visit to the Special Army Super Camp 4 in Faskari, Katsina State on Wednesday to ascertain the level of successes of the recently launched Exercise Sahel Sanity.
On his part, Bello said the establishment of the super camp and exercise Sahel Sanity had achieved tremendous successes against bandits within one month.
He said that farmers in many communities that were hitherto affected by banditry had returned to their farms, expressing confidence that banditry would soon be a thing of the past.
The governor also commended the officers and men of Nigerian army for their sacrifice and urged them to sustain the tempo.
“I am highly impressed by the super camp and I think this will go a long way towards improving the confidence level of the communities affected. We can see that farming activities have resumed in most of the communities.
“That has always been an issue; we have always been concerned with regards to the economic activities in the rural areas. I must commend the COAS and his officers and men for a job well done.
“I also would like to thank Mr President for this initiative as this will bring succour to the local people that are affected by the activities of these bandits,” he said.
Bello also expressed optimism that the planned expansion of operations in the region by establishing more camps would go a long way towards addressing these challenges.
According to him, most of the forest areas are connected to our states and most are between the boundaries of various states.
“I believe that once these locations are manned fully, it will definitely go a long way towards improving security. Overall, I think tremendous successes have been recorded so far and I am sure the Nigerian army are up to the task.
“It will only get better and very soon we will have a serene and safe environment so that economic activities would continue,” he added.
He assured that the state government would continue to support the military to be able to carry out their operations successfully.
Earlier, El-Rufai said the exercise, which was flagged off on July 6, had recorded remarkable successes and impressive achievements within the short period, adding that those that lived in the areas of operation could testify.
He said the biggest fear of the governors earlier in the year was that the level of banditry escalated in various states in the North West and Niger state which could cripple farming activities in the region.
According to him, the menace could lead to serious economic consequences for the country leading to food shortages and insecurity.
“We are grateful to Mr President for inciting this kind of intervention which has subsequently reduced the level if insecurity here.
“My brother the governor of Niger State observed on his way here that all the farms were looking green and booming and farmers were in their farms.
“This is as a result to a large extent of the successes recorded by Exercise Sahel Sanity.
“We are therefore very impressed on behalf of the people and government of our states, the seven states of the North West and Niger state express our gratitude to officers and men of Nigerian armed forces and other security agencies that support them and particularly the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“With this intervention, a lot will be achieved within a month and the communities that live in the areas of operation and those of us who are responsible for overseeing their safety and security are aware of this achievement,” he said.
El-Rufai said that the continuation of the exercise along with other operations would bring about better and improved security in the region.
He added that even though security had improved compared to what it used to be a month ago, there was still work to be done.
According to him, with the plans to expand the operations across all the states of the region that need it, we are confident that we are seeing the end of banditry in the North West and parts of the central states.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five governors of Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger as well as Chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Army have visited the camp in the last five days. (NAN)