All within 17 days, a total of 220 people comprising 165 civilians, 25 security personnel and 30 local vigilantes have been killed by bandits in Niger State, according to Gov. Sani Bello.
To checkmate the violent and murderous acts of the bandits now designated terrorists by the Federal Government, Bello said only “a robust deployment of modern technology will tame them and for effective policing of the areas they currently occupy.”
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to update him on the insecurity situation in the state, the governor said: “With the kind of zeal I have seen from our security agencies and all services, I’m very optimistic that the situation will be addressed.
“We share borders with Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kebbi States. And these bandits have the habit of hibernating between forests, moving from Zamfara to Kebbi, and Kebbi to Niger. They take advantage of the cattle routes which they already know.
“They move on motorcycles. And most of the areas and communities they attack have no access roads; you cannot drive there. So, our response time is slow.
“But going forward, there will be new strategies which I earlier mentioned. It will help us. But I can’t disclose some of those strategies. But basically, the States of Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi would have to work together to address the situation.
“What I realize is that they have been taking us on a merry-go-round. When we deal with them in Niger, they move to Kaduna. When Kaduna deals with them, they move to Katsina.
“They have been hibernating in the forest. Some of these operations need to be handled simultaneously so that we get the result.’’
Expressing grief over the deaths, Bello said:”We are not happy and we are sad with the developments in these states. We are doing whatever we can, using kinetic and non-kinetic efforts to see that we address the present situation.
“As we go on, we will try to update you from time to time on progress being made in this fight.”