The Senate shuddered on Tuesday as Senator Ibrahim Gobir gave a damning report that people of his constituency were now at the mercy of the Nigerien soldiers for protection against armed bandits.
The lawmaker representing Sokoto East Senatorial District said Nigerian Army and other security operatives have completely abandoned them, a situation that has forced over 5,000 people to relocate to Niger Republic.
Reacting, the Senate urged President Muhamnadu Buhari to direct the military for immediate expansion of their operations against banditry from Katsina and Zamfara to Sokoto and Niger States.
Gobir revealed this while seconding and contributing to a motion on “urgent military action against banditry in Niger State”, insisting 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 a 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, many at times, that the people of the affected areas called on Nigerian Army for help and protection against the bandits, 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 aside the 300 people who had fallen victim of banditry attacks in the area through kidnapping or outright killing, hundreds of cows and other animals have been rusted by the bandits the worth of which is about N2.5billion.
“Fallout of this is grinding poverty ravaging the affected people in form of serious hunger since their cows and other animals are on daily basis being stolen.
“The situation is so bad that we only get help from Niger Republic and not from Nigeria at all, be it from the Military or the Police .
“The affected people cannot be perpetually be at the mercy of Nigerien Soldiers and still expected to proudly see themselves as Nigerians .
“Very urgent drastic 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 the daily activities of armed bandits in Niger State, saying that such require urgent intervention from President Muhamnadu Buhari.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan said security challenges are enormous but surmountable.
“Nigeria is definitely up to the task and Mr President will deploy military to the areas for restoration of sanity as gradually being witnessed in Zamfara and Katsina States,” he said.