By Haruna Salami
The Senate on Tuesday reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive to launch a military offensive against bandits in Katsina, appealing that the exercise be extended to contagious states to rout out the bandits.
Sponsoring the motion, Senator Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), contended that “a major offensive in Katsina alone is likely to make the armed bandits and kidnappers seek safer haven in Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states, which hosts the Zurmi and Kamuku forests among others, further compounding the plight of hapless and poor communities along these forest corridors.”
According to him, “it was the earlier massive operations in Zamfara and Kaduna states that led the armed bandits to seek safe haven elsewhere, thus moving into Katsina and Niger states respectively; and some others pushing their lick to some parts of Sokoro and Kebbi states.”
The Senate in its resolutions, accordingly appealed to President Buhari to expand the scope of military operations to include Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto states and any other surrounding areas or states that the armed bandits may want to seek safe haven following the massive operation.
The upper chamber also called on the Military formations and the Nigerian Police to increase their surveillance operations to track movements by these armed bandits in order to prevent them from accessing these areas.
Abdullahi in his motion recalled that the Senate had last week Tuesday, May 12, 2020, considered two separate motions on the need for the federal government to immediately address the growing spate of banditry in Niger and Kataina states, respectively.
The Senate was “aware through a Presidential Spokesman that President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized the commencement of a major military operation to sweep bandits and kidnappers out of Katsina state; as major proactive measures by Special Forces to replace the reactive strikes against the camps of these bandits and criminals”.
According to him, “the criminalities by these armed bandits and kidnappers is carried out mostly under the cover of the contagious forests reserves and areas stretching from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States with pockets of safe havens in Kebbi and Sokoto states.”
In his contribution, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East), lamented the worsening security situation in the aforementioned areas as the people were at the mercy of cattle rustlers, haven lost about 5,780 in recent time.
He also regretted that Nigerian security forces have abandoned them at the crucial moments, making them resort to help from Nigerien security who respond to their distress calls.