Governors of the North-west states and Niger State in North-central have agreed to jointly address the problem of insecurity in the region, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal said yesterday.
Speaking after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Tambuwal, who had requested for a meeting with the president following an attack by bandits in Sabon Birni Local Government Area (LGA) of his state leading to the death of over 60 people, said he briefed the president on the security situation in Sokoto State and requested for more military assistance to stop the bandits.
He added that he also sought support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state. He expressed happiness with the president’s response so far.
He said: “I requested to see the president yesterday (Thursday) and he granted me audience today.
“I have seen him, briefed him on the security situation in Sokoto State in particular, the security situation in Sokoto Eastern Senatorial District and of very special concern, Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
“Apart from the previous attacks, only two days ago through banditry attacks we lost about 74 people in a very heinous and dastardly act of aggression from the bandits.
“I have briefed Mr. President on the general situation and the need for support that we require.
“When I said ‘we’ in this case, I meant the security personnel that are there in Sokoto working day and night in synergy with each other to ensure that they maintain peace and order in the state,’’ he said.
President Buhari had on Thursday ordered a fierce military operation to “totally crush” those he called “mass murderers” terrorising people in Sokoto State.
Tambuwal, who used the opportunity to speak on his state’s response to COVID-19, said: “We are working hard, the task force is doing very well, the medical team in the state is doing very well and the public response to mobilization and awareness is paying up.”
El-Rufai warns of effect on farming
In a related development, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State yesterday alerted on the possibility of weakened farming activities in the Northwest and nearby states this year as a result of banditry if not quickly checked.
He said he would meet with the military chiefs to seek more assistance against bandits escaping onslaught in Zamfara and Sokoto states.
El-Rufai, who spoke with State House reporters in Abuja yesterday, said banditry would affect this year’s farming if not timely dealt with.
He however expressed optimism that the challenge would be frontally tackled by the military with the assurance he got from the Chief of Air Staff.
He said: “The Sokoto story only hit the headlines just a few days ago, but in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, 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 forth 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.”
On COVID-19, the governor noted that the country was going through a difficult period as the economy would go into recession, but would overcome the situation.
He urged Nigerians to pray for all leaders, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari whom he described as a decent and honest man, so that the country can make progress.
ACF urges military deployment
Meanwhile, The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged the federal government to hasten deployment of massive security assistance to Sokoto State after bandits Wednesday killed over 60 people in villages in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
The forum in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said it was disturbed by reports of increasing deadly attacks by bandits on some communities in Sokoto State which it said had until now remained relatively peaceful.
“The forum is disturbed by the wanton destruction of lives and property of innocent, law abiding citizens in northern Nigeria and calls on the federal and state governments and security agencies to close ranks and come up with adequate security measures to protect the citizenry,” it stated.