Stephen Angbulu, Abuja
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has ordered the nation’s armed forces for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Sunday, titled ‘President Buhari sets the ball rolling for a big military operation in Niger State.’
had reported that on January 11, at least 13 people were confirmed killed in an attack by bandits, now terrorists, in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The police spokesperson in the state, Wasiu Abiodun, who confirmed the killings added that the assailants attacked villagers who were harvesting crops on their farm in Nakundna Village in Shiroro council area.
A statement by Governor Abubakar Bello, however, indicated that the attack spread to another village, Wurukuchi.
Also, on Friday, January 14, two persons were reportedly killed and five others abducted in separate attacks in villages in Mashegu and Kontagora local government areas of Niger State. Residents said bandits operated for hours in five villages where several cattle were rustled as villagers abandoned their homes.
According to Shehu, “In a directive to the Defence Headquarters a few days ago, the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces asked the military to respond robustly to the cases of killings and kidnappings in the state and to give effect to the strategic objectives through the use of force.
“In his message to the government and people of Niger State, President Buhari said, ‘I would like to express sincere sympathies to the government and people of the state following recent security incidents.’”
Buhari reiterated that security is a responsibility of every member of the community and only through solidarity and cooperation with law enforcement agencies can insecurity be finally defeated.
He said, “The Federal Government is willing to strengthen support and cooperation with all the states. I believe that with the full cooperation of the citizens, we will surely overcome this problem.”