Journalism of Courage

Terrorism: Northwest states may hire  mercenaries — Gov. El-Rufa’i

....in Aso Rock to brief Buhari about the decision of governors of the affected states

The Governor of the beleaguered Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufa’i, was at the State House on Friday to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, and said successful fighting of terrorism now requires hiring foreign mercenaries.

According to a frustrated El-Rufa’i , if the federal authorities fail to deal decisively with terrorists, the Northwest states of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and the neighbouring Niger might resort to hiring mercenaries to end the decade-long blood letting.

El-Rufa’i, who spoke in Hausa, warned that the terrorists going by the ruthless onslaught and invasion of the North might subdue the Nigerian state unless  the armed forces routed them out of existence from their known hideouts and camps in the forest

He recalled  the Tuesday, March 29 bloody attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train that left eight people dead and others fatally injured and abducted which he said was carried out by Boko Haram insurgents.

“The attack was not a hack job, but well planned over a long period.”

The Governor said the incident would have been staved off had the federal government heeded his earlier warnings.

El-Rufa’i insisted that security agencies know the locations of the terrorists, and challenged them bombed the locations with the Tucano fighter jet acquired from US by the government.

“To us, this happened because we have consistently written letters to the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

“We wrote them twice to stop night trips because we had security report that Boko Haram had entered and they were planning to blow up the train, they should stop night journey. We wrote them twice, but they didn’t listen.

“Secondly, the Air Force, in response to that security report, went and established a base at Katari, where helicopters can land and refuel so that if anything happens, they can quickly respond, but that cannot work at night because some helicopters cannot even fly at night, that is why we advised the Federal Government that the night train should be stopped.

“We suggested that, the last trip should leave Abuja by 4:00pm, so that they can arrive Kaduna before night falls and same for last trip from Kaduna, but our advised was not taken.

“It took the security agents over an hour to get to the scene when the attack happened because it was night, it would have been faster in the afternoon.

“This attack shows that it is not the bandits that we are used to; these ones came prepared, they have planned this attack for long to the extent that they know the first class coach where they will get the big personalities.

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“Therefore, this is a serious issue that, we have been suggesting that, these forests where these people are, we should go there and bomb the forest for everyone in the forest to be be killed. Honestly, if this is not done, this banditry in Niger, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto will not end.

“This thing can consume the entire Nigeria, because the way these people are getting money, the way they boast that they don’t fear authorities, they don’t fear military, I don’t know why up till now, the Nigerian military will not enter these forests and deal with these people.

“Why do we always wait for them to strike before we go after them, why can’t we go to where they are and kill them? We know where they are. We have the maps as the military know, the policemen know and everyone knows.

“DSS is giving us report every time; see where Dogo Gide is, see what he is planning. Why is it that, up till now, the security have not gone to kill them, where are our soldiers? Why have they not done it? ”

He added:”That is why I have come to see Mr President and also I have said that, if these actions are not taken, it becomes a must for us as governors to take measures to protect our citizens even if it means we will import mercenaries from outside the country to do it if our soldiers fail.

“I swear to God, we will do that. This issue has gotten to an alarming state.

Mr President assured me that, he will take actions and that this thing will be brought to an end within months.”

On the rumoured fresh attacks on Kadun-Abuja highway,  El-Rufai said it was untrue, accusing political opponents of being behind it.

“All these are happening in Kaduna because people are investing in Kaduna, that is what they want to stop, they want to spoil Kaduna, which is the nerve centre of the North, nerve centre of Nigeria politics.

“Some people say they are doing it because of me, it is not because of me, they want to fight President Muhammadu Buhari, fight our party and fight the north.

“They want to impoverish us because of the coming election in 2023, but they will not succeed by God’s grace,”El-Rufai said.

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