El-Rufai: simultaneous bombing of forest can end banditry

A simultaneous military operation is needed in the Northwest and Niger State, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai said yesterday.

He believes such an operation would secure the ungoverned spaces of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Plateau and Niger and tackle banditry.

The governor spoke in Zaria when the Emir of Zazzau, Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli, paid him the traditional Hawan Bariki visit.

El-Rufai noted that criminal elements were being assisted by a network of informants.

He urged traditional institutions to mobilise their networks to expose them and support the security forces with local intelligence.

The governor said: “My first official action as governor was to summon an emergency security meeting on May 30, 2015, to identify the security threats across the state and find answers to them.

“One outcome of that meeting was the decision to collaborate with the governors of the other states in the Northwest and Niger State to fund a joint military operation to clear the Kamuku-Kuyambana forest swathes in the Birnin Gwari axis of cattle rustlers hibernating in the ranges that cover Niger, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara States.

“While this action decimated the criminals, it is a matter for regret that the necessary follow up operations were not sustained by the security agencies.”

The governor said he was “convinced that comprehensive, simultaneous military and security operation in Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Plateau and Niger states is vital to stopping the terrorists and reasserting the authority of the Nigerian state in the ungoverned spaces.”

He added: “We created a specialised Ministry of Internal Security and we continue to support the federal security agencies with logistics and other resources.

“We are engaging the highest echelons of government and the security structure on resolute action to protect the lives, liberty and livelihoods of our people.”

The governor called on the citizens to participate in the electoral process and “to make it a peaceful exercise in the freedom of choice.’’

“It is important to the integrity of the process and to the safety of citizens that everyone should conduct themselves with respect for law and order.

“We appeal for responsible behaviour and decent utterances all through the push and pull of political competition,” El-Rufai said.

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