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Bandit attacks may affect farming, says El-Rufai

FILE PHOTO: El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has expressed his plan to meet with service chiefs in order to seek more military operations that will protect his area of control from the bandits who will leave Zamfara and Sokoto States because of the ongoing onslaught against them.

El-Rufai, who fielded questions from State House reporters on Friday, said banditry would affect this year’s farming if not dealt with at this point in time.

The governor, however, expressed optimism that the challenge would be frontally tackled by the military with the assurance he got from the air Force chief.

He said: “The Sokoto story only hit the headlines just a few days ago, but in Zamfara, in Kaduna, in Niger, in Katsina, this banditry has become a northwestern scourge and we have been battling it with the support of the military; we are very grateful to the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army and in our own particular case, even the Navy has been holding fort in Southern Kaduna.

“We’ve been dealing with this issue and our concern now is with the operations in Sokoto and Zamfara.

“Many of the bandits will move to Kaduna, this is part of the reasons I’m here, I’ll let be meeting with the Minister of Defence and the Service Chiefs to try to get more military activities, some operations to be strengthened.

“I must say that they’ve been doing very well, they’ve supported us, but this banditry is a big problem.

“It’s going to affect agriculture unless it is dealt with and I believe that it will be dealt with.

“The Chief of Air Staff has assured me that whatever it will need to be done to wipe out the bandits, to enable our farmers to go to farm as the rains advance, will be done. We are confident that things will get better.

“It’s most unfortunate that we’ve had to deal with it in the northwest in the same way that Boko Haram ravaged the northeast, these bandits are also becoming a serious problem in the northwest, but the problem is being addressed.”

El-Rufai, while speaking on Democracy Day, said the COVID-19 pandemic had made many people to have a low key celebration.

The governor, who said the country was going through a difficult period as the economy would go into recession, stated that the nation would overcome the current situation.

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