Barely a week after he claimed that informants of bandits are within the government, Niger State governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has declared that “most of the bandits were foreigners hired to cause problems in Nigeria.”
The governor stated this while addressing security agencies, comprising the military, police, civil defense, and vigilante after visiting the Emir of Kalgara Ahmed Gunna and parents of abducted Tegina Islamiyya school pupils.
He however said the government has resolved to take decisive measures to ensure the safe return of the pupils.
According to him “most of these Bandits are from outside the country, they are hired to cause problems for us. It is not the habit of the true Fulani to indulge in this kind of act. These bandits are well organised and coordinated. We cannot fold our arms anymore but to take decisive and necessary steps to apprehend those involved, both the informants and the bandits”.
The governor pleaded with parents of the kidnapped children to exercise patience, noting that the government was exploring all avenues to secure their safe rescue.
He said, “Even though we have ruled out payment of ransom, it is time for the government to take decisive measures towards ending the bandits’ activities that are forcefully changing the lives of the people especially in the rural areas.
“The abductors are not honest, they are not honourable. After agreeing with parents they started shifting the goalpost and now we are here to take action,” the governor declared.
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The Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmad Garba Gunna, Attahiru II thanked the governor for supporting the emirate in the area of security as well as to the family of the kidnapped school children.
Headmaster of the Islamiyyah School, Mallam Abubakar Alhassan, said the government’s decision to combat the bandits was a welcome development provided their children will be brought back safely.
Meanwhile, the state government said it has taken concrete security measures to ensure the safe return of the school children.
A statement issued by the chief press secretary to the governor, Mary Barje, on Monday in Minna, the state capital, said the governor disclosed this while addressing a special squad of combined security personnel deployed to Rafi Local Government Area, on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Police had, on May 30, confirmed the abduction of the school children and some residents of Tegina in Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
Bello said that time had come for the state government to take decisive action to end the banditry in the state once and for all.
”We will give you all the necessary support to enable you to implement all your security strategies to ensure safe return of our abducted children and others, if any.
“We have tried our possible best not to make them succeed in forcing us to change our normal lives; they started by displacing farmers from their farmlands, next they moved to burning farms.
”Then they moved to kidnapping and forcing us to close our schools, now they have started attacking Islamic schools, only God knows what is next,” he said.
The governor told the special squad that logistics had been provided for them while promising that their allowances and other financial benefits would always be provided as and when due.
He commended the security personnel for their efforts in the ongoing fight against banditry and other criminal elements in the state.
”I mourn the killing of 20 vigilante corps members by the bandits in Magama Local Government Area,” he said.