Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger state has ordered bandits operating within the state to leave or face the full wrath of the law.
The warning came as gunmen struck in Rigasa community of Igabi local government area Kaduna state and in the process kidnapped a nursing mother.
A similar scenario was replicated in Labo, Batsari local government area of Katsina state where the village head was abducted by bandits.
But sounding a warning to bandits in Niger state, Governor Sani-Bello said government was more than before set to decisively deal with them if the criminals failed to leave.
He spoke Wednesday through his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, during a visit to communities recently attacked by armed bandits in Shiroro local government of the state.
The governor assured residents of the state that securing their lives and property was of utmost priority to his administration.
While addressing people at Kuta after a condolence visit and on-the-spot assessment of communities attacked by hoodlums, the deputy governor said the governor was seriously concerned about the incessant attack on defenceless citizens, saying “government will not tolerate these criminals any longer.”
He condemned last weekend’s attack in the area and described the dastardly act by the bandits “as not only unprovoked and unwarranted, but a challenge and threat to the state security architecture.”
The governor said his administration in conjunction with security agencies, would make the state inhabitable for bandits, insisting the hoodlums must steer clear of the state.
Governor Sani-Bello said the state government would institute measures to forestall reoccurrence of such heinous crimes.
Meanwhile, gunmen Tuesday stormed Rigasa community of Igabi local government area of Kaduna state during which they abducted a nursing mother.
The hoodlums, who arrived at about 2 a.m Tuesday, went from house to house picking their victims.
Three other young women were alleged to have also been abducted but the police said all the victims, apart from the nursing mother had been rescued.
The husband of the nursing mother who identified himself as Ibrahim said the kidnappers left their infant child and took the mother away.
“The infant is with our neighbour together with my other children. But my wife is still with the kidnappers,” he said.
Ibrahim said he escaped from the house when he heard gunshots in front of his residence that night.
Another young woman who identified herself as Fatima explained how she also escaped abduction.
“They came into our house and collected my aunt’s phone. One of them asked me to come with them. He asked me if I had money but I told him no.
Then he asked if I’m into any business; when I told him no, he slapped me because I was pleading with them to let me go.
“Later the police arrived, and they started exchanging gunfire, so I ran back into the house. That was how I escaped from them,” she said.
Another resident said the gunmen took away N450, 000 from his house.
“They took away my money after they were told I was not in the house. They ransacked everywhere searching for me, in the process they got the money,” he said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Yakubu Sabo, confirmed the incident.
He said only one person was abducted and the second person escaped while the police rescued four others.
“The incident happened around 2 a.m Tuesday. Our patrol team from Rigasa responded to a distress call after hearing gunshots. They engaged the hoodlums in a fire duel and were able to rescue some of the people that were initially abducted by the hoodlums; about four of them.
“Some of the hoodlums escaped with gunshot wounds. We were later informed that a man who was among those rescued couldn’t find his wife.
“We thought she had escaped through the night, but it was later established that she might have been taken away after one of the two missing people was found and said the woman is with them (kidnappers).
“So, officially, within the Rigasa axis and based on that incident, it was only one woman that was not seen.
“The police have dispatched a general search team to see how we can rescue the woman and also apprehend the attackers,” he said.
Similarly, the Katsina state Police Command has confirmed the abduction of the village head of Labo in Batsari local government area of the state, Bature Mai’unguwa, by gunmen.
PPRO Gambo Isa, a superintendent of police, said this while speaking to journalists Wednesday in Katsina.
He said the victim was abducted Tuesday afternoon while working on his farm at the outskirts of the village, near Rugu forest.
“Operation Puff Adder responded to the distress call, but since it was far inside near Rugu forest, before they could reach the place, the hoodlums had already fled into the forest.
“We are following a lead that may assist us in rescuing him. The command is calling on communities in the affected areas to always form groups while going to their farms and inform security agents for security backup.
“We are reminding people of the state government’s directives on the suspension of farming activities around Rugu forest areas.
“Members of the communities are reminded to put security of their lives first before embarking on any activity,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the gunmen invaded the village on motorcycles around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, shot sporadically to pave way for their operation, abducted the village head and fled into the forest.