Banditry: Over 5,000 Sokoto residents flee to Niger Republic

… Senate seeks Buhari’s urgent rescue operation

By Ignatius Okorocha

Senators were at plenary on Tuesday alarmed at the frightening report by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC Sokoto East), that soldiers drafted to his senatorial district to provide security to residents of the area have absconded leaving the people at the mercy of armed bandits.

This has lead to the migration of over 5000 residents of the area to Niger Republic.

This is as the Senate has equally urged President Muhamnadu Buhari to direct the military to immediately expand their operations against banditry from Katsina and Zamfara to Sokoto and Niger States .

Senator Gobir who raised the concern while seconding and contributing to a motion on urgent military action against banditry in Niger State, said the Sokoto incidences are worse than any other parts of the country.

According to him, within the last three months, not less than 300 people in Sokoto East Senatorial District have either been killed or kidnapped by the rampaging armed bandits on daily basis.

“The situation in Sokoto East as far as armed banditry is concerned is pathetic and tragic because it is only Nigerien Army that had been coming to their rescue while the Nigerian Army looks the other way.

“In fact, based on very reliable and verifiable information from the area, most times, the people of the affected areas called on Nigerian Army for help and protection against the bandits, unfortunately they get no response .

” But graciously, the Nigerien Army has been assisting in wading off the bandits, the very reason why not less than 5,000 people in the affected areas have migrated to Niger Republic for safety,” he said .

He lamented further that apart from the 300 people who had fallen victim of the banditry attacks in the area through kidnapping or outright killing, hundreds of cows and other animals worth over N2.5 billion have been rustled by the bandits.

“Fallout of this is grinding poverty ravaging the affected people in form of serious hunger.

“The situation is so bad that we only get help from Niger Republic and not from Nigeria, be it from the Military or the Police .

“The affected people cannot perpetually be at the mercy of Nigerien Soldiers and still be expected to proudly see themselves as Nigerians .

“Very urgent action is required from President Buhari through the military in form of expansion of anti- banditry operation currently being carried out in Zamfara and Katsina State to Sokoto State,” he said .

Senator Sabi Abdullahi had in the motion anchored on orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing rules, lamented daily occurrence of armed banditry in Niger State requiring urgent intervention from President Muhamnadu Buhari.

Though the Senate in its resolutions applauded President Buhari for the anti – banditry operations going on in Katsina and Zamfara States, it however, urged him to, as a matter of urgency, expand the exercise to cover Sokoto and Niger States.

Speaking, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the security challenges in the country are enormous but surmountable.

He expressed optimism that President Buhari will deploy military to the affected areas for restoration of sanity as gradually being witnessed in Zamfara and Katsina States.

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