Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and chairman North Central Governors Forum (NCGF), has expressed shock and is saddened by the recent reports of abduction of innocent people by armed bandits in several communities across three local government areas of Rafi, Wushishi and Lavun in the state.
It is reported that armed Bandits invaded Tegina community in Rafi Local Government Area, shot one person dead and left one seriously injured as well as kidnapped an unconfirmed number of Islamiyya students and teachers from Salihu Tanko Islamic School alongside some passengers of a Sharon Bus travelling to Minna.
Governor Sani Bello, in a statement expressed outrage at the escalating level of banditry in the state, while reiterating his emergency call on the federal government for prompt intervention.
“The situation has reached crisis level, infact it’s a war situation that we have to confront without further delay”, the governor said, while also stating that the state government is still searching and conducting House-to-House headcount to ascertain the exact number of children abducted.
Reports also have it that the gunmen, on about 70 Motorcycles, attacked 17 communities in Wushishi local government area where they shot several people while some women and children drowned as they tried to escape across River Kaduna.
More than ten people are reported to be receiving treatment at the Wushishi General Hospital, even as search is still ongoing for many missing persons from Babako, Tashan Girgi, Kwakwagi, Fakara, Ndiga, Buzu, Akare, Kala Kala, Agwa, Anguwan Gizo, Tsamiya and other neighbouring villages attacked by the bandits.
The governor described as unfortunate and unbecoming of the serial attacks, and assured that the Joint Military Taskforce has been mobilised and are already tracing the tracks of the criminals for possible isolation and ambush.
Governor Sani Bello further appealed for calm and restated the strong resolve of the state government, to continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority.
Meanwhile, 11 children who were too small to walk among the kidnapped Islamiyya students, were released by the gunmen as reports also indicates that the IDPs of Central and Model Primary Schools as well as Government Secondary School in Wushishi, are returning back to their communities following return of normalcy.