By Haruna Salami
The Senate has urged the Federal Government to declare bandits as terrorists in order to wage total war against them including bombing all their locations “to annihilate and eliminate them”.
This call followed a motion on “Banditry in Sokoto State, Particularly Sokoto East Senatorial District’, sponsored by Senator Gobir, Ibrahim Abdullahi (Sokoto East).
Sen. Gobir noted that Sokoto East Senatorial District has now become a “safe haven for bandits” due to the current crackdown taking place in Zamfara State.
The Lawmaker is concerned that on Saturday, 25th September, 2021, twenty one 21 security personnel were killed in Dama and Gangara villages by rampaging bandits, 15 of them soldiers, and 3 mobile police and 3 members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, in addition to yet to be ascertained number of civilians from the neighbouring villages.
“This has gone to portray the seriousness of the problem which requires concerted and urgent action by the declaration of total war on banditry”.
He was worried that losing such number of trained security personnel will further deplete the numerical strength of the security personnel we have in the country, thereby jeopardizing the security architecture of the country.
He was further worried that most bandits have now relocated to Sabon Birni and Isa Local Governments due to the sustained military operations at the Zamfara axis.
Gobir was equally concerned that while the crackdown on the bandits was taking place in Zamfara state, no concrete measures have been taken in Sokoto state leaving it totally exposed to the activities of the bandits.
“The present military onslaught on the bandits is not well co-ordinated because it is only being orchestrated in Zamfara state instead of all the fronts line states ravaged by banditry – Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna states.
“The operation should be holistic instead of restrictive and there should be synergy in order to produce effective and the desired results”, Gobir stated.
Gobir also revealed that bandits in areas where communication networks are shut down now use services from Niger Republic to communicate among themselves.
Speaking with journalists after the motion, Gobir said he has never seen anything similar to the level of killings in his place before.
“I have never seen a thing like this all my life. Something must be done. If the only option is for all to have AK 47, so be it. The only difference between you and the bandit is the gun”.
He said the total of people killed is about 600.
In her contributions, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central) called on President Buhari to address the nation on security, adding that the issue of insecurity is getting out of hands.
On his part, Senator Ali Ndume, (Borno South) said the unfortunate incidents in Sokoto state, North West and North Central is quite worrisome.
He added that the areas are also faced with an embarrassing humanitarian crisis that comes with the activities of banditry.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan commended the military for good work they doing and called for more resources for them through budgetary allocation and thanked Senator Gobir for sponsoring the motion.
Accordingly, the Senate resolved to direct National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant Federal Government agencies to, as a matter of urgency, give all the necessary support to the victims of the menace of banditry in Sokoto and other parts of the country.