Nine days after Gazette on bandits: Buhari orders major military operations in Niger

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered major military operations in Niger state to ward off ceaseless attacks by terrorists on its communities.

The state has continued to face attacks on its communities by bandits (now called terrorists) and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theaters of war in both the North-west and North-east.

The president’s reassurance followed the spate of killings in some parts of the state, with the latest being the 13 persons slain in fresh bandits’ attacks in Shiroro local government area of the state.

The order is coming barely nine days after the federal government formally gazetted bandits, kidnappers and related criminals as terrorists.

Announcing the presidential order in a statement Sunday in Abuja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, said the president asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the state and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.

In his message to the government and people of Niger state, President Buhari said, “I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the State following recent security incidents.”

President Buhari reiterated that “security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can we defeat the problems finally.

“The Federal Government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem,” the President said.

15 abducted in fresh attack

Meanwhile, the state police command has confirmed the abduction of 15 persons by some gunmen in Kulho village of Mashegu local government area of the state.

Police spokesperson in the state, Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed this Sunday in a statement in Minna.

Abiodun, a deputy superintendent of police, said on January 14, at about 2 a.m., suspected bandits attacked Kulho village, a remote community via Ibbi in Mashegu and abducted 15 persons.

He also said  on the same day at about 1 a.m, suspected bandits/terrorists entered Mashegu village through Jigawa and stole a yet to be ascertained number of cattle.

The police image maker said a team of operatives had been drafted to the area for search and rescue of the abducted victims.

“We solicited the support of local residents to volunteer reliable information that could aid in apprehending the miscreants,” he said.

Apart from Niger State, states like Kaduna and Zamfara also remain a hotbed for bandits who have become almost uncontrollable despite the efforts of the country’s military to tackle them.  (NAN)

Commander arrested

In a related development, a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara state, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, has said a notorious bandit identified as Katare was arrested Saturday.

 Shinkafi, who said this while briefing journalists in Gusau, said Katare was usually operating along Lambar Bakura-Tureta and Raba forest in Sokoto state.

He listed exhibits recovered from him to include 200 AK-47 rifles while trying to escape to other forest in the state.

According to him, the top leader of bandits who  is in his late 20’s, had already confessed to receiving supply of  weapons from Niger Republic and using  them in his deadly operations.

He said Katare had been terrorising the people along the Sokoto-Talata Mafara highway and also part of Rabah and Maradun local government areas of Sokoto and Zamfara states.

“The security challenges faced by Zamfara state is a collective concern of all-inclusive of Ulama, politicians including those in the PDP, APC, APGA regardless of what political ideologies we all belong in Zamfara state,” Shinkafi stated.

He urged the good people of the state to remain calm and report any suspicious movement by some people in their respective domains to security agencies for urgent response.

 N200m ransom

Also, a community in Nahuche town of Bungudu local government area of Zamfara state Sunday staged a peaceful protest in Gusau, the state capital over what they described as rampant kidnap and attack by terrorists in their domains.

Speaking at a news conference, spokesman of the community and former chairman of the local government council, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi Manager said the level of attacks had become outrageous.

He said they spent over N200 million as ransom and also on  vigilante group for self-defence through fund raising  in the last three years, during which the terrorists launched 12 attacks on the community.

Manager said over 50 people were lost in the attacks under the same period,  even as  13 people  kidnapped in the community were still in captivity in the last one month.

He appealed to Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle to intervene and help secure the release of those in the terrorists’ den.

The community leader also appealed to the federal government to complement Governor Matawalle’s efforts by deploying more troops in the state to tackle the dreaded terrorists.

 “I am appealing to Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to send Super Tucano and send adequate security personnel to Zamfara state to end the lingering insecurity we are facing,” he said.

The for council boss also suggested the need to have permanent military base and police division in Nahuche to take on the hoodlums as they strike.

 Kidnapped students freed

Similarly, Vice-Chancellor University of Lafia in Nasarawa state, Prof. Shehu Abdul Rahman has confirmed the release of the four kidnapped students of the institution.

This was contained in a statement by Head of Information and Public Relations Unit of the University, Abubakar Ibrahim and made available to Blueprint in Lafia, Sunday.

He said the four students of the university who were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, Thursday, were released by their abductors in the late hours of Saturday.

“The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Shehu Abdul Rahman, therefore, on behalf of the management of the institution, wishes to express his profound gratitude to the Nasarawa state government and the general public for their contributions, prayers and support during the trying moment.

“Specifically, the vice-chancellor expresses the University’s special appreciation to the security agencies for their timely interventions that led to the quick and safe return of the students. 

“Consequently upon their release, the students have undergone medical checks and they were all found to be in good conditions to immediately resume their studies,” the statement added.

He, therefore, called on the students to remain calm and go about their normal activities on both campuses of the university.

She also assured the parents, students and public of his administration’s commitment to make lives and property safe in and around the campuses.

Buhari, Lawan hailed 

Meanwhile, Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni  has showered encomiums President Muhammadu Buhari for his untiring efforts at restoring peace and normalcy, particularly to the troubled north eastern part of the country.

Buni , who spoke Sunday, also acknowledged that there was now a significant improvement in the security situation in the Northeast particularly in Yobe state.

 The governor also commended Senate President Ahmad Lawan for providing the right leadership at the National Assembly and for providing the much needed support and cooperation to enable the executive arm of government perform.

 Governor Buni spoke at the 2022 Annual Machina Cultural Festival which started Monday and ended Sunday.

Buni said the large and peaceful congregation that witnessed the cultural festival was an evidence that the security situation had improved.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the security personnel the required resources to secure lives and property in the country.

 “As a result of this, the people in the north eastern part of the country can now sleep with their two eyes closed.

“In case there is still anybody in doubt, this large congregation at this event is enough proof that the security situation has improved,” Buni said.

Buni said the various projects the government had executed or now being implemented were the results of the cooperation and support which once eluded the Buhari’s administration the first four years, but now being provided by the current Assembly.

“I have earlier acknowledged Ahmad Lawan as Sardaunan Bade. He is not Sardaunan Bade alone but Sardaunan of Northern Nigeria.

“He was voted here as a Senator because this is his constituency. But God has made him Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Since he assumed office as Senate President, the support and cooperation that he gives the executive arm of government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has brought about the development in the country that we are witnessing today.

“That cooperation and support by the current National Assembly is what is responsible for the development we are seeing today in Nigeria because the first four years of President Buhari, he did not enjoy this kind of cooperation and support by the National Assembly,” he said.

Besides Lawan and Buni, Governors of Jigawa, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Kebbi, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu were also at Machina to witness the cultural festival.

Lawan and the three governors were all honoured with chieftaincy titles by the chief host, the Emir of Machina, HRH Alhaji Dr. Bashir Albishir Bukar Machinama.

The Machina paramount ruler gave Lawan letter of appointment as the Danmasani Machina.

Lawan was once Danmasani Bade but having been elevated by the Bade Emirate Council in Yobe State as Sardaunan Bade, his first son, Ibrahim Ahmad Lawan now bears the title.