Senate urges Buhari to extend military action against bandits in Katsina to four other states

The Senate on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to extend the military action he ordered against bandits in Katsina state to cover contiguous states like Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto.

The upper chamber also called on the Military and the Police to increase their surveillance operation to track movements by these armed bandits to recent them accessing any safe haven

It commended Buhari for the directive to launch a military offensive against bandits in Katsina State.

These resolutions of the Senate followed its consideration of a motion on the need to integrate adjoining States of Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi and Sokoto to the ongoing military action against bandits in Katsina.

Also Tuesday, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) in his contribution, lamented that no fewer that 5,000 members of his constituency have since fled to take refuge in Niger
Republic due to the activities of the bandits.

The motion was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).

President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, noted that the security challenges are enormous but surmountable.

“Nigeria is definitely up to the task and Mr President will deploy military to the areas for restoration of sanity as gradually being witnessed in Zamfara and Katsina States,” Lawan said.

Senator Abdullahi in his lead debate recalled that the Senate had last week Tuesday, May 12, 2020, considered two separate motions on the need for the federal government to immediately address the growing spate of banditry in Niger and Kataina States, respectively.

He said that the upper chamber is “aware through a Presidential Spokesman that President Muhammadu Buhari had authorized the commencement of a major military operation to sweep bandits and kidnappers out of Katsina state; as major proactive measures by Special Forces to replace the reactive strikes against the camps of these bandits and criminals.”

He insisted that, “the criminalities by these armed bandits and kidnappers is carried out mostly under the cover of the contiguous forests reserves and areas stretching from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States with pockets of safe havens in Kebbi and Asokoro states.”

He expressed concern that “a major offensive in Katsina State alone is likely to make the armed bandits and kidnappers seek safer haven in Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states which hosts the Zurmi and Kamuku forests among others, further compounding the plight of hapless and poor communities along these forest corridors.”

He added that, “it was the earlier massive operations in Zamfara and Kaduna states that led the armed bandits to seek safe haven elsewhere, thus moving into Katsina and Niger States respectively; and some others pushing their luck to some parts of Asokoro and Kebbi States.

Senator Gobir lamented that the people in his constituency are now at the mercy of Nigerien soldiers for protection against armed bandits.

According to him, within the last three months, not less than 300 people in Sokoto East Senatorial District, have either been killed or kidnapped by the rampaging armed bandits.

Gobir said: “The situation in Sokoto East as far as armed banditry is concerned, is pathetic and tragic because it is only Nigerien Army that have been coming to their rescue while the Nigerian Army looks the other way.

“In fact, based on very reliable and verifiable information from the area, many a times that the people of the affected areas called on the Nigerian Army for help and protection against the bandits, there was no response.

“But graciously, the Nigerien Army have been assisting in warding off the bandits, the very reason while not less than 5,000 people in the affected areas have migrated to Niger Republic for safety.”

He lamented further that aside the 300 people who had fallen victim of attacks in the area through kidnapping or outright killing, cows and other animals worth about N2.5billion have been stolen by the bandits.

He added: “The fallout of this is the grinding poverty ravaging the affected people in form of serious hunger since their cows and other animals are being stolen and even money made from some of the cows they hurriedly sold.

“The situation is so bad that we only get help from Niger Republic and not from Nigeria at all, be it from the Military or the Police.

“The affected people cannot perpetually be at the mercy of Nigerien soldiers and still be expected to proudly see themselves as Nigerians.

“Very urgent drastic action is required from President Buhari through the military in form of expansion of anti-banditry operation currently being carried out in Zamfara and Katsina State to Sokoto State.”

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