Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello has revealed that a total of 220 citizens comprising 165 civilians, 25 security personnel, and 30 local vigilantes have been killed by bandits in the state.
Bello disclosed this while speaking with state house correspondents on Tuesday after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.
The governor, who came to update the president on the security situation in Niger, said the bandits move from one state to another and that only a robust deployment of modern technology will curb their activities.
He said: “I’m very optimistic with the kind of zeal I have seen from our security agencies and all services. I’m very optimistic that the situation will be addressed. And hopefully, we should get a very peaceful state within the shortest possible time.
“We share borders with Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kebbi States. And these bandits have the habit of hibernating between forests, moving from Zamfara to Kebbi, and Kebbi to Niger.
“They take advantage of the cattle routes which they already know. They move on motorcycles. And most of the areas and communities they attack have no access roads. So, you cannot drive there. So, our response time is slow.
“But going forward, there will be new strategies which I earlier mentioned. It will help us. But I can’t disclose some of those strategies. But basically, the States of Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi would have to work together to address the situation.
“What I realize is that they have been taking us on a merry-go-round. When we deal with them in Niger, they move to Kaduna. When Kaduna deals with them, they move to Katsina. They have been hibernating in the forest. Some of these operations need to be handled simultaneously so that we get the result.
“We are not happy and we are sad with the developments in these states. We are doing whatever we can, using kinetic and non kinetic efforts to see that we address the present situation.”
“In the last few days, there have been a lot of activities in Niger State. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see some relief with regard to banditry. I also gave a highlight on some of the challenges. Of course, our size is a disadvantage, almost nine million hectares. We lost some forests.”
Meanwhile, Bandits have reportedly written a letter where they demanded the sum of N24 million levy on nine communities in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State.