President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the country’s security chiefs to flush out bandits and kidnappers by whatever means from Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina States and other parts of the country.
The president’s directive was disclosed yesterday in Katsina by the acting inspector-general of police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.
Adamu, who was at the Government House, Katsina told Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, who was represented by the deputy governor, Mannir Yakubu, that all the security chiefs had been given marching orders by President Buhari to clear the bandits from all the states where they are having a field day.
The IGP admitted that the activities of the bandits were a source of concern to Buhari.
He said: “We know that the bandits have their camps in the forests, the strategy we are adopting is to take the fight to the kidnappers. We will go to their camps, identify the camps, destroy them and occupy them so that they cannot come back.
“There is an ongoing operation called ‘Operation Puff Adder’, which aims at clearing the bandits, arrest and prosecute them to give members of the public the confidence that anybody will not commit a crime and go away freely,” he said.
While acknowledging the importance of cooperation among the police, the military and the civil populace, Adamu said that the gunmen that kidnapped Masari’s mother-in-law, Hajiya Hauwa Yusuf, 80, in Katsina metropolis last month had been apprehended by the police.
LEADERSHIP recalls that octogenarian, who was abducted at her residence in Dandume Crescent in Kofar Kaura Layout by masked bandits, regained her freedom after eight days in captivity.
In his response, Yakubu (deputy governor), said: “Katsina is gripped with anxiety. The state is in a period where some parts have been taken over by bandits, who strike at will, maim, destroy life and property while in other parts of the state, we also have kidnappers, who not only abduct people on the road but kidnap them in the comfort of their homes.”
He commended President Buhari and the IGP for inaugurating the latest operation, adding that there were indications that the full implementation of the operation in the affected states would bear positive fruits.
The governor noted that the state had assisted the current operation with vehicles, funds and accommodation in the three bases chosen for the anti-bandits’ fight to secure the lives and property in the state.
NAF Shells Criminals’ Hideouts
Meanwhile, the Air Task Force (ATF) of “Operation Diran Mikiya” has destroyed eight hideouts of the bandits in its renewed air offensive against the criminals in Zamfara State and its environs.
NAF director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said yesterday that the air strikes were intensified on Monday with the deployment of more aircraft in the state to flush out the bandits from their hideouts in Sububu, Rugu and Kagara forests.
Daramola said that on the first day of the intensive operation, the ATF conducted coordinated air raids against several identified armed bandits’ hideouts at Doumborou, Sububu, West Malamawa, Baturia Pond and Rugu forests, where several of them were neutralised and their camps destroyed.
He added that on Tuesday, the ATF conducted several waves of attacks against several targets.
According to him, the first wave struck three bandits’ locations within Sububu Forest as well as another camp in Kagara Forest.
The NAF spokesman said that the targets attacked in the second wave were notable bandits’ hideouts at Kamarawa, Kunduma and Tsamare Hill, while the third focused on their hideouts in Doumborou.
In a related development, the ATF also provided close air support for surface forces of Sector 2 to enable them move into the attacked areas to mop-up the fleeing survivors and recover their weapons.
“In all, the ATF degraded eight camps and neutralised scores of armed bandits,” he said
He said as a result of the air strikes, some of the bandits fled towards the border between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
“Accordingly, the ATF is liaising with relevant authorities to ensure that the bandits are prevented from escaping through the southern part of Niger Republic,” he said.
Senate Seeks N10bn For Zamfara IDPs
At the National Assembly, the Senate asked the Executive arm of government to provide N10 billion in the 2019 Appropriation Bill as intervention funds for the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other persons affected by the activities of bandits in Zamfara State.
The Upper House also urged the executive to set up an ad-hoc committee to be known as Presidential Initiative on Zamfara State (PIZAMS).
The Senate resolution followed a motion sponsored by Senator Kabir Garba Marafa (Zamfara Central, APC), who canvassed that the presidential committee shall have a 10-year lifespan to manage the funds and subsequent allocations/donations.
Marafa who spoke through Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, claimed that insecurity in Zamfara was deteriorating on a daily basis and called for urgent national action through legislative intervention.
In his lead debate, Marafa said that the deteriorating state of insecurity in Zamfara led to a public protest in Abuja and several other states by indigenes of the state living those places.
He said: “The activities of the bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers have remained unabated.
“The activities of these bandits and cattle rustlers have since 2011 till date resulted in the death of many people, in addition to creating a tremendous humanitarian crisis which includes but not limited to growing numbers of widows, rape victims and orphans
‘’A conservative estimate of 11,000 male adults have been killed by the bandits, leaving behind an average of 22,000 widows (at two wives/person) and an estimated 44,000 orphans (at an average of four children/deceased)
‘’In terms of casualty ratio and displacements, Zamfara State remains ahead of many states in the North East and North Central that are currently being given prominence by the mainstream media and the federal government in terms of recognition and assistance.
‘’These killings have brought untold hardship on several families who have to squeeze and accommodate displaced persons and families; overstretching accommodation, scarce food items, clothing and other sundry,” he said.
The first contribution came from the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who commended Marafa for bringing the deteriorating security situation in Zamfara to the front burner of discourse in the Senate.
He said: “The primary purpose of government as clearly stated in Section (1b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is all about security and welfare of citizens. Any government that cannot make provision for these has no business in governance
“For the government to tackle the security problem headlong, the abnormality of Nigeria being the only federation with centralised police must be addressed.
“It has been suggested in this hallowed chamber that the lasting solution to the myriads of insecurity challenges in the land is the creation of state police, the earlier we embrace it, the better for the country,” he said
Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South) said that the state of insecurity in the country has defied several intervention measures, adding that, ‘’there is no doubt that everything seems not to be working right now in the country. This is why community policing has become imperative.’’
Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) said that the tragedy in Zamfara had gone beyond the state, because it had destabilised Katsina, and other surrounding states.
Senator Ibn Na’allah (Kebbi South) urged the Zamafara State government to enact law banning the use of motor cycles in the state for three months.
Senator Olusola Adeyeye (Osun Central) said that the faulty constitution of the country should be blamed for the insecurity in the country.
“The constitution has 68 items on the exclusive list and 12 items in the concurrent list which are even ambiguous and nebulous. Let us bring a bill to establish state police otherwise we will continue to face this problem,’’ he said.
ACF Meets Next Week On Insecurity, Post-2019 Elections
Also yesterday, leaders of the apex northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) met in Kaduna to prepare their agenda for another parley on Wednesday next week.
They are expected to discuss the worsening insecurity in some northern states, the region’s unity and the post-2019 general elections.
LEADERSHIP gathered that security issues, especially kidnapping and banditry in the North West and North East regions would feature prominently in the proposed meeting.
A source at yesterday’s meeting told LEADERSHIP that the meeting would appraise the just-concluded 2019 elections, especially the presidential poll which was won by Buhari.
The source said: “Insecurity in some North West states such as Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and the North East states of Borno, Yobe, and Taraba will be discussed. The forum may appraise the just- concluded 2019 polls too. It will discuss the unity of the north as well as other issues affecting the region”
ACF secretary-general, Mr. Anthony Sani, said: “All the resolutions of our meeting will be in the communiqué.”
Sani, however, confirmed that the meeting was held but said that the issues discussed were not for public consumption until the National Executive Committee (NEC) meet next week to take a position on them.
It was not clear whether yesterday’s meeting was attended by the ACF’s Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman, Malam Adamu Fika, as efforts to get further details of the meeting were unsuccessful.
The ACF national publicity secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, did not pick several calls put to his mobile phone at the time of filing this report last night.
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