Niger state Commissioner for Information Alhaji Mohammed Sani Idris, has cried out that the state is now under the siege of bandits which has paralysed economic and social activities in the affected areas.
Idris, however, declined to confirm or deny the killing of five mobile policemen, burning down of two vehicles and a Primary Health Care centre in the Pangu community of Rafi Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday evening just few days after two soldiers and some civilians were killed in Zungeru town. The Zungeru town incident was confirmed by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello during his visit to IBB Specialist Hospital Minna to commiserate with 12 injured soldiers in the same incident.
Idris, who fielded questions from newsmen after he and some of his colleagues addressed the press after the State Executive Council meeting, however, confirmed that “ there have been attacks here and there” without being specific.
The commissioner declared: “ There is a rise in bandits’ attacks, nobody is safe anymore. We are already in a full-fledged war and there would certainly be casualties but we have taken measures to reduce the number of casualties on our side. The attacks are emanating from within communities not from bushes.”
The commissioner stated that despite the precarious situation the government has found itself as a result of the activities of bandits, government would not be overwhelmed by the insecurity situation in the state and would not allow bandits to dictate to it its policies and programmes.
Idris, however, said: ”Government is doing everything possible” to bring the bandits menace to a halt pointing out that the administration has been engaging heads of security agencies in the last two weeks on how to end banditry in parts of the state.”
He denied that the government is not adequately funding the security agencies which has resulted in their refusal to be proactive in the war against the bandits saying “ we are doing the needful to the security agencies”.
On the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Dr Ibrahim Garba Musa and his son who were abducted from their homes in Zungeru town over a week ago, Idris disclosed that government was doing whatever it takes to rescue them unhurt without compromising the policy of the government.
“Niger state government would not do selective treatment especially one that would compromise its stand. We can assure you that the Permanent Secretary would be rescued unharmed and soon,” he said.
Idris said the fight against banditry and other criminal elements has been intensified as government has deployed security agents into the forests and communities to stem the tide insisting that “We have taken the fight to the bushes and towns, very soon, we will give you the number of casualties. We will continue to manage the problem and situation and we will not be overwhelmed with this situation”