Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-rufai Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, on Monday, apologised for his administration’s inability to protect the people.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the governor made the remarks when he visited Karewa and four other villages in Igabi and Giwa local government where 51 villagers were massacred by bandits in an early morning attack on Sunday.
“If not for the security agencies prompt intervention they would have wiped out the entire villages.
“I also came to apologise for failure to protect you fully, we are doing our best to minimise such incidents, you should continue to forgive us.
“But we are doing the best we can and we are hoping that this banditry issue will be addressed because security personnel are on ground to manage the situation.
“In Kaduna, we have vast land, if the security close one area they attack another area,” he lamented.
The governor told the villagers that he had asked the security agencies to wipe out the bandits.
“It is our duty to wipe them out, and until we send them to their maker, the security agencies are taking the war to the forest and we are eliminating them,” he said.
According to him, security operatives intervened shortly after the attack, both on ground and in the air, and succeeded in wiping out the attackers.
“The security agencies are doing the best they can, but they find it difficult to get to remote areas in good time due to poor access roads while the natives also find it difficult to get to security personnel due to poor GSM network.
“But I am grateful to the Air force, Army, Police and the DSS for being always prompt otherwise it would have been worse.”
He urged the people to continue to be patient and vigilant, as well as support government and security agencies to win the war against the bandits.
El-Rufai prayed for peaceful repose of the souls of those who died and directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to provide relief materials for the victims.
The governor was accompanied by the GOC 1 Division, Commissioner of Police, Director DSS and chairmen of Igabi and Giwa local councils.
Earlier, the District Head of Karewa, Alhaji Ibrahim Damu called on the state government to intensify efforts in tackling security challenges in the area, as the people were living in constant fear. He also urged residents to be vigilant at all times.
The affected villages include Kerawa, Zareyawa and Marina all in Kerawa Ward of the local government.
The attackers were said to have stormed the villages around 6am shortly after the Subh (early morning prayer).
Daily Trust learnt that many residents fled as the assailants also set many houses ablaze and carted away foodstuff.
The councillor of Kerawa Ward, Malam Dayyabu Kerawa, confirmed the incident to our correspondents. He said all the 51 victims were buried around 4pm.
He said those who sustained injuries were taken to hospital for treatment.
“We don’t know who they were; they only stormed the villages and started shooting people. As we speak, 51 people have been buried; while the injured were taken to the hospital,” he said.
He added that the information about the attack came late due to network problems.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said he didn’t get information about the incident early. He said he had already contacted the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area who visited the scene to brief him about the incident.
A reliable source in the state confirmed that during an aerial bombardment, involving three aircraft, many of the bandits were also killed.
Twenty-one people were reportedly killed on February 12 at Bakali village in Fatika District of Giwa Local Government Area of the state when bandits stormed the village and killed 16 members of the same family and five others, including members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF).
Brandishing weapons and shooting sporadically into the air, the bandits stormed Bakali around 4pm where they locked up about 16 members of the same family and set the house on fire.
A day later, gunmen opened fire at Maro Market in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state in the evening and instantly killed seven people, leaving many injured.
However, one of the more devastating incidents within the last six months took place in Igabi Local Government Area of the state in October 2019 when bandits killed three members of a vigilante group, surrounded 16 villages and farmlands and ordered the residents to leave their homes or face attacks.
The incident saw thousands of women and children relocate to the Local Education Authority Primary School, Birnin Yero for refuge.