The Federal Government of Nigeria is deploying a 1000-strong mixed force, comprising the army, air force, police and the civil defence to launch counterattacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of Zamfara State.
Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has also begun the deployment of fighter aircraft to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara State to make for immediate and effective response to the menace posed by the bandits.
“This had not been possible in the past because there was no fuel depot facility in Katsina, but NAF has devised a way around the problem”, Malam Garba Shehu, the SSA Media to the President explained.
According to him, the President has also authorised the engagement by NAF, of advanced satellite surveillance technology to help in accurate detection of movement and locations of the bandits.
“The government had to go to this extent because of the limitations of conventional surveillance, as the use of satellite technology could make the task of NAF less problematic. Following directives from the President, at the weekend, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, was in Gusau where he met the Deputy Governor of the State”, Garba said.
“The Chief of Air Staff reiterated the President’s pledge that he would never abandon victims of attacks to their fate, reaffirming that security remains one of the cardinal pillars of his campaign promises and no leader would be happy to see his own citizens killed by criminal groups across the country”.
The new presidential directive followed renewed attacks by bandits in some areas of the state. On July 24, bandits struck attacked villages in Mashema District of Zurmi local government area.
The army arrested three of the suspected bandits. But on Saturday, irate youths in Zurmi town, attacked the community police station demanding that officers should hand over the three suspected bandits arrested by the army to them.
The Public Relations Officer of the state police command, SP Muhammad Shehu who confirmed the incident to newsmen in Gusau on Sunday said the police station was attacked on Saturday evening.
Shehu said that the angry youths also burnt down a vehicle and some motorcycles at the station.
On Sunday, the Speaker of Zamfara state house of assembly, Alhaji Sanusi Rikiji reported the kidnap of 15 persons on Saturday in Maradun local government area of the state.
The latest directive by the president to beef up security in the state may contain future security breaches.
According to Garba, President Buhari since 2015 has kept faith with his promises to re-equip and motivate the country’s military and other security services.The army and other security services are now better equipped and motivated to face their responsibilities.
“The Presidency, therefore, appealed to all Nigerians to unite and speak with one voice on security issues and urged politicians to stop exploiting national security challenges.
“Those praying for the President to fail in this effort can be likened to one stabbing oneself in the heart and celebrating about it. In this regard, security should not be reduced to petty politics as doing so could only embolden the terrorists and other murderous gangs”.