President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the military to respond “robustly” to the cases of killings and kidnappings in Niger State and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement issued Sunday, said the President gave the directive to the Defence Headquarters.
He said President Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s 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 theaters of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.
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.”
The President restated that security was 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,” said the President in the statement titled “President Buhari Sets the Ball Rolling for a Big Military Operation in Niger State”.
Last Tuesday, bandits invaded communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger, killing no fewer than 13 people in an attack that took place during the day at Nakundna and Wurukuchi.
Tuesday’s attack came less than two weeks after bandits attacked workers on Zungeru Dam, killing two persons and kidnapping three Chinese expatriates.
The Niger State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP 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 LGA.
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, said the worrisome part of the security challenges was the inability of the farmers to harvest their farm produce, which might likely trigger food scarcity in the state.
The governor said that a coordinated and simultaneous attack on the terrorists by security agents in the affected states would go a long way towards achieving success.