Senate urges military to block escape routes of fleeing terrorists



The Senate at plenary on Wednesday urged the military and security agencies in the country to closely monitor and block the escape routes used by bandits andfleeing terrorists.

This is to forestall their relocation to safe havens in other parts of Niger State and the country.

This was just as it urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide food and other livelihood support amenities to affected villagers and those internally displaced in Mariga, Mashegu, Kontagora and Borgu Local Government Areas in Niger North Senatorial District.

These formed part of resolutions reached by the Senate following a motion on “Renewed kidnappings and Banditry Attacks on Communities in Mariga, Mashegu, Kontagora and Borgu Local Government Areas of Niger North Senatorial District.”

Coming under Order 41 and 51 of the new Senate Standing Orders, the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC-Niger), bemoaned the disturbing trend of renewed kidnappings and banditry communities of Mariga, Mashegu and Kontagora Local Government Areas of Niger State.

He recalled that “following the massive onslaught against criminal elements and bandits operating in eastern parts of Sokoto and Zamfara states, there was a massive movement of these escaping bandits and their criminal elements into Niger State, specifically into Mariga local government area (LGA).

“Concerned that these bandits continuously attacked communities in Mariga LGA leading to massive internal displacement of many communities. Currently, villagers have moved out of MaÚndu, Alabani, Sappaji in Berri Ward. Over 20 villages are now deserted in Galma/Wamba ward and scanty residents are in Ukuru, Igoma, Maruba and Ruka villages in Bobbi Ward.

“Communities that border Kaduna, Zamfara and Kebbi States, located in Mariga LGA namely Galma, Makici, Makogi Na Maforo, Nassarawa, and Kwanan Duci, are constantly being attacked by bandits and over 15 persons killed in Bobbi ward of Mariga LGA.

“We are disturbed that some notorious bandits in their numbers operated for hours in five villages on Friday, Jan. 14, where several cattle were rustled as villagers fled their homes.”

According to him, the bandits first attacked Tungan-Ruá village in the morning, later moved to Tungan Maje and also rustled cattle.

“The same day they attacked Kawo Mashegu where two people were killed, four persons abducted and proceeded to attack Tungan Magaji village where several cattle were also taken away.

“After several operations, 17 persons were abducted, including two persons delivering ransom. The same day, Farin Shinge village, a few kilometres’ away from Kontagora town, was also attacked and two persons kidnapped.

“Worried that the bandits are in the habit of burning down villages, burning farms with agricultural produce unharvested, stealing the home stored foods of villages they attack with the danger of those who brave the odds to go to their farms for harvest being killed or kidnapped, many villagers are now in Internally Displaced Persons in places like Bangi, Mangoro and other safer locations with no food or amenities.

“President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the nation’s armed forces for a major military operation in Niger State which has faced continued attacks on its communities by bandits and remnants of Boko Haram terrorists fleeing theatres of war in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country.

“Strongly suggest that the operations should be comprehensive enough to close the various paths that gives the bandits and fleeing terrorists access to safe havens in various parts of Niger State, especially in Mariga, Mashegu, Magama and Borgu Local Governments of Niger North Senatorial Districts and Rafi and Shiroro Local Governments of Niger East Senatorial Districts,” Abdullahi said.

Accordingly, the Senate resolved to observe a one-minute silence for those who lost their lives.

It urged the armed forces and other security agencies involved in the ordered operations to closely monitor and block the escape paths/routes used by the bandits and fleeing terrorists to forestall their relocation to safe havens in other parts of Niger State.

The chamber also urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide food and other livelihood support amenities to affected villagers and those who are now in IDPs in Mariga, Mashegu, Kontagora and Borgu Local Government areas of Niger North Senatorial District. (NAN)