How Bandits displaced 10,000 villagers in Niger – Bello


Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello has said over 10,000 persons have so far been displaced in the state following various attacks by bandits.

Governor Sani-Bello stated this weekend while speaking at a special prayer session organised by the state government to seek God’s intervention and bring an end to the security challenges presently bedevilling the state and the country at large.

The special prayers, it was learnt, were held simultaneously in the eight emirate councils of the state.

While the governor, alongside the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago led prayers in Minna, the deputy governor, Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Ketso joined other Muslims in Bida Emirate for similar spiritual exercise.

 Speaking at the session, the governor said: “The call for the special prayer was to seek for Allah’s guidance and protection against the activities of the bandits that were maiming and killing innocent lives as well as destroying property of the citizens.”

He further said the prayer session was for God to touch their hearts to stop their nefarious activities, adding that government had put in place a robust strategic security measures to end banditry which the governor said had displaced about 10, 000 people in the state.

The governor expressed confidence that with the security measures on ground, the end to  banditry was very near.

In the same vein, the governor also paid a visit to the Internally Displaced Persons camp (IDPs) in Kagara, Rafi local government area of the state where most of the villagers displaced by the bandits were taking refuge.

 While at the camp, Governor Sani- Bello assured that government was exploring all avenues within its reach to get rid of the armed bandits and other criminal elements causing pain, havoc and hardship to the people.

“Discussion has reached an advanced stage with the Nigerian Army for additional soldiers to be posted to the state so as to beef up security in Rafi and Shiroro local governments which are mostly hit by the armed banditry activities,” the governor said.

Governor Sani-Bello further said efforts were being intensified towards eliminating the bandits, promising that the displaced persons would soon go back to their homes and return to their farms.

Soliciting for the cooperation and support of the people in the fight against the bandits, the governor said: “Without the full support and cooperation from the people, there is nothing security personnel could do. You should therefore be on the watch out for the bandits’ informants amongst you as most attacks looked well-coordinated.”

 Also speaking at the Kagara IDP’s camp, head of hospital services, Kagara General Hospital, Dr Salisu Mohammed said they received displaced persons virtually on daily basis at the camp and that majority of them were from Shiroro local government area.

 Some of the IDPs who spoke in Hausa language appealed to the government to deploy more security personnel to the area to tackle the bandits to enable them go back to their villages and live their normal lives.

Buhari talks tough

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned Boko Haram attack on Garkida, Adamawa state, extending his sympathy to families of the victims.

The president assured that no part of Nigeria would be abandoned to their fate. 

“These attacks on soft targets by terrorists are obvious signs of frustration because my administration has significantly weakened Boko Haram’s capability to invade and hold Nigerian territory unchallenged.

“Our gallant forces deserve our appreciation for repelling the attackers but they must go beyond this point. They have our full support to go after the terrorists and have them pay a huge price. I want to assure the country that terrorists will continue to face the combined power of our until they give up their mistaken ways.

“These occasional and episodic attacks on poor civilians by terrorists are mere propaganda efforts to portray them as strong in order to fool the public into believing that they haven’t been militarily weakened our gallant troops,” he said.

The president said since the coming of his administration, Boko Haram’s ability to invade and occupy Nigerian territories, let alone be able to hoist their flags had been frustrated.

He said in the coming weeks, Nigerians would witness an aggressive campaign to rout Boko Haram once and for all.

“Security will continue to be well funded despite the competing needs of social services. I appeal to Nigerians to continue to support our troops in their gallant efforts to protect the citizens and secure the country,” he said.

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