Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state has revealed that a total of 220 residents were killed by bandits in the state in the last 17 days.
Addressing state house correspondents on Tuesday January 18 after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari to update him on the security situation in his state, the Governor said the victims comprised 165 civilians, 25 security personnel, and 30 local vigilantes.
Revealing that bandits have been moving from one state to another, Abubakar said only a robust deployment of modern technology will curb their activities. He also stated that clearance operations against the bandits should be handled simultaneously so that they can be flushed out at once.
The Governor said;
“I’m very optimistic 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. And hopefully, we should get a very peaceful state within the shortest possible time.
“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. So, 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 realise 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.
“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.”
Abubakar also expressed hope of the state getting some relief in coming weeks.