The Northwest zone of Nigeria recorded 330 attacks and 1,460 deaths as a result of armed banditry within seven months.
This was disclosed by the permanent secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr Amina Shamaki, during the 2019 Federal and States Security Administrators’ meeting in Birnin Kebbi, yesterday.
She pointed out that the North West zone was formally known to be generally one of the most peaceful zones of the country, however in the last few years the attacks by armed bandits in the zone remained a source of concern to the security agencies and the general public.
“From January to July, 2019, about 330 attacks were recorded, resulting to the death of about 1,460 civilians.
“However, between June and July, 2019, the number of incidents declined, especially in Zamfara State, that had been the epicentre of armed banditry, “ she said.
Shamaki also attributed the decline to the combination of both kinetic and non- kinetic measures put in place by the government.
She commended the Zamfara State and Kebbi State governors for taking proactive measures to ensure security of their people.
“The dialogue initiated by the current Zamfara State governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, in particular and the other governors in the zone is worthy of commendation and should be adopted by the states with similar security challenges.
“Kebbi State is also one of the peaceful states in Nigeria , the setting up of security committees at community level is worthy of emulation.
“Application of the carrot and stick approach is an effective strategy that enables criminals wiling to embrace peace to do so while the unrepentant ones are identified and isolated for appropriate actions by the security agencies,” she said.
According to her, while bandits’ attacks have reduced in Zamfara State, the incidents have risen in the contiguous states.
She stressed the need for vigilance and close monitoring of the repentant bandits by the security agencies to prevent them from going back to the trenches.
She also expressed concern over the porosity of Nigeria’s borders which according to her gives room for smuggling of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) from war-torn zones, including Libya and Central African Republic.
She said that the federal government is doing a lot to improve border security with a view to addressing some of the challenges.
In his remarks, Governor Bagudu, thanked the security agencies and judiciary in the state for contributing to make the state peaceful and a model for other states.
He said security was everyone’s business, and collective responsibility of all.
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