Locate, flush out bandits, Buhari orders police
President Muhammadu Buhari has handed a marching order to security agencies to smoke out bandit from their various hideout across country. “You must locate and smoke them out wherever they exist,” he said, yesterday.
The president who spoke through the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at Batsari, Katsina State, described activities of bandits operating in various parts of the country, especially in the north, as a challenge to the Federal Government.
Buhari told members of a special task force at the Divisional Police headquarters, Batsari that the “activities of the bandits have challenged us. I want you to take the fight to their abode and smoke them out. We shall give you all the necessary assistance and support. The bandits and other criminals must be flushed out from wherever they may be hiding. You were chosen for the job because of the confidence that the force headquarters have in you.”
Batsari Council Caretaker Chairman, Manir Muazu, told the police boss that suspected bandits attacked the Garimi/Magaji Ado ward in the area, on Tuesday, killed five persons and injured no fewer than 10 others. Katsina State Police command had on Tuesday deployed members of the special squad referred codenamed “Operation Puff Adder” to various parts of the state, to check activities of bandits and kidnappers, operating in at least eight out of the 34 local government areas.
Apart from Batsari, bandits and kidnappers have virtually taken over Jibia, Safana, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Dandume, Kankara and parts of Kafur local government areas. The rising cases of killings, kidnappings and other deadly attacks, also came under the searchlight at the senate, as lawmakers took turns to lament and paint harrowing pictures of breakdown of law and order in the country. The called for immediate and strigent measures to prevent the country from descending into a failed state.
The outpouring of indignation followed a motion by Kabiru Garba Marafa on the need to create intervention fund in the 2019 appropriation to cater for the deteriorating humanitarian crisis resulting from activities of bandits in Zamfara State.
Marafa, in his lead debate, said he was aware of the recent public protest staged in Abuja, other states of the federation and indeed by other Nigerians in the Diaspora, as a reaction to the deteriorating state of insecurity in Zamfara State. The Zamfara Central senator said the protesters needed to be commended for their show of support and “the need to sustain such sense of solidarity, as it has the potentials of compelling those in authority to do the needful.” He lamented that the activities of armed bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnapping for ransom in villages and communities have remained unabated.
He noted that the activities of the bandits and cattle rustlers have since 2011 resulted in the death of many people, “in addition to creating tremendous humanitarian crises which include but not limited to growing numbers of widows, rape victims and orphans.” According to him, “a conservative estimate of 11,000 male adult have been killed by armed bandits, leaving behind an average of 22,000 widows (at two wives per person) and an estimated 44,000 orphans (at an average of four children per deceased).”
Marafa said he was aware that in terms of casualty ratio and displacements, Zamfara State has more security issues than many states in the North East and North Central that were currently being given prominence by the mainstream media and the Federal Government in terms of recognition and assistance.
He added that owing to cultural and religious consideration, the burden of the widows, orphans, rape victims and displaced persons were being borne largely by close relatives, extended families and sometimes immediate neighbours who have become overstretched to a point they could no longer cope. The killings, he said, have brought untold hardship to several other families who have to squeeze and accommodate displaced persons and families, overstretching accommodation, scarce food items, clothing and others.
He prayed the National Assembly to make provision for the sum of N10 billion in the 2019 Appropriation as intervention funds to cater for the IDPs and other persons affected by the activities of bandits. He further prayed the Senate to urge the Federal Government to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to be known as Presidential Initiatives on Zamfara State (PIZAMS), with a 10 year life span to manage the said funds and subsequent allocation/donations.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said the time had come to declare a state of emergency in Zamfara State; “not to remove the state governor but to initiate extreme measures to stabilize the state.” He also argued that the country could no longer shy away from introducing state police, which he said would go a long way in nipping most of the security challenges in states in the bud.
Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, believe no mount was too much to save the lives of Nigerians.
Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba south) who had earlier raised the issue of insecurity in his constituency cautioned against living a pretentious life. He said the number of people killed in Zamfara State was more than those killed by Boko Haram in Borno State.
Shehu Sani argued that the security situation in the country was symptomatic of a of a failed state. “We cannot continue to deceive ourselves. Nigeria, as giants of Africa cannot afford to fail. The governors are always in Abuja meeting with the President. On Fridays the governors are in the mosque praying with the President. The President should tell them to stay back in their states to solve the problems there. All the prayers in the motion were unanimously adopted.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks said: “From the contributions we have had, I think it is key that we begin to look at the problem and look for long-term solutions. I think that what we did yesterday (Tuesday) in trying to strengthen the funding of the police and what we have before us, the Police Reform Bill, which would be laid today. The sooner we can pass that will also help us in addressing the insecurity challenges.”