Northwest Governors Issue Vacate Forest Order To Bandits
Sorthwest governors have asked bandits and everyone hiding in the forests to leave or face the wrath of security agencies.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who announced this decision, said it was taken in their renewed drive to flush out illegal elements and hoodlums who launch sporadic attacks from those forests.
The governor spoke during a special Hausa programme aired on Liberty TV.
He said: “Whoever remains in the forest would be regarded as a bandit. Therefore, the security forces will deal with them ruthlessly.”
He said the governors would forgive bandits who surrender their arms.
The Defence Headquarters yesterday said full military assault would be deployed against bandits in the North as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), said the country was in a critical situation following the resurgent terrorists’ attacks, banditry and abductions.
He said the security challenges required Nigerians’ support.
The minister spoke at a National Defence and Security Summit organised by the Defence Headquarters.
Its theme was: Promoting kinetic operations as a major plank for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency in Nigeria.
Magashi said the Federal Government had deployed several approaches in fighting insecurity, including force and dialogue.
He said there were causes for serious national security concerns, such as terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflicts, ethno-religious conflicts, kidnapping and banditry.
Magashi said: “The Federal Government has inalienable responsibilities to provide security to the people and territories of Nigeria and would not shirk these responsibilities.
“The Federal Government is single-mindedly committed to the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security of the nation.
“We will leave no stone unturned to deliver on these national aspirations and values.
“Admittedly, the Presidential directive to the Armed Forces and other security agencies underscores the use of all the instruments of power to stabilise the security situation in the nation and provide good governance as well as promote peace, stability and development.
“The focused and objective use of kinetic operations, therefore, becomes very obvious. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in league with strategic Ministries Departments and Agencies are critical to this security initiative.”
Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, stressed that the national security threats “pose an immediate danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of the nation”.
He added: “Consequently, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force, President Muhammadu Buhari, has given a clear mandate for action.
“As a result of the Presidential directive, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is already seized with actions to immediately stabilise the situation,” he said.
Irabor assured Nigerians that the military will enhance its kinetic operations in tackling the prevailing security challenges confronting the nation.
Kinetic military action is a euphemism for military action involving active warfare, including lethal force.
“Our strategic objectives are manifold and imbued to neutralise non-state actors and other agents of violence in our communities, forests and countryside to stabilise the security situation across the nation, to facilitate law and order and, lastly, to provide the enabling environment for peace and development.
“These presuppose that the military would need support from other security agencies during operations and would be required to give support to others at different stages of internal security efforts.
“On behalf of the officers and men/women of the Armed Forces, I pledge our unalloyed loyalty to C-in-C and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The mandate shall be delivered; fear and despair shall be extinguished from our land. Nigeria will have peace again,” he said.
The House of Representatives minority caucus said the body language of some state actors was encouraging criminality.
Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu called for an investigation of the assassination attempt on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
He said: “We are alarmed by this brazen attempt by outlaws to assassinate a democratically elected governor in our country.