Following the latest killing of over 40 persons at Goronyo market in Sokoto by bandits on Sunday, the state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, have appealed to the Federal Government to deploy more troops to the state to stop banditry.
Recall that before Sunday’s attack, bandits had subjected markets in Sokoto State to frequent attacks, killing scores of people.
The plea of the duo came as the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Faruk Yahaya, tasked troops in the state to redouble their efforts and flush out bandits therein.
This is even as the Northern Youth Assembly of Nigeria, NYAN, yesterday called for proactive military action against bandits across the country.
Speaking on the attack, Governor Tambuwal, while receiving the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Faruk Yusuf in his office in Sokoto, also reaffirmed his commitment to support the Nigerian Army to tackle the insecurity bedeviling the Northwest geopolitical zone.
He stated that in spite of the state’s lean resources, the state government would do all it could to provide requisite support to end banditry in Sokoto and the contiguous states.
Tambuwal, who noted that the visit was a home coming for the COAS as a worthy son of Sokoto State, urged him to review the ongoing operations with renewed strategies to identify and destroy bandits’ enclaves.
He further called for collective effort among citizens and security agencies to fish out perpetrators of heinous crimes in the society.
He cautioned the public not to shield any one supporting banditry, especially their informants and logistics suppliers.
‘’I wish to call on the federal government to inject more personnel and resources to make operations much easier for the security agencies. The frequency of attacks of the state by the bandits requires that more troops are deployed to flush out the bandits in record time,’’ the governor said.
Also re-echoing the governor’s call, the Sultan of Sokoto assured the army chief of his continuous support to enable him succeed in his mandate.
The Sultan, who also played host to the COAS, urged the federal government to deploy more troops to Sokoto State to curtail the excesses of the bandits.
He equally urged the COAS to mobilize every available resources at his disposal to confront the adversaries of the state.
The Sultan said: ‘’To defeat these bandits, it has become necessary for more troops to be deployed to Sokoto without further delay. Too many people have been killed in markets in the state in the past few weeks.
‘’People are now afraid to come to the markets because nobody knows when the bandits will strike. Deployment of more troops would help increase surveillance, with a view to nipping the attacks in the bud.’’
While visiting frontline troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Sabon Birnin and Isa, both in Sokoto State, to assess the security situation, following recent bandits’ attack on the communities, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Yusuf, urged the troops to remain alert and vigilant to prevent any surprise attack.
He assured, that the Army would not disappoint the government and people, saying efforts were ongoing to reorganise and rejig the operations in the Northwest.
He emphasized that the Nigerian Army was working assiduously with other security agencies and stakeholders to robustly confront the situation.
He commended Governor Tambuwal for his continuous support to the NA and urged him not to relent on his effort.
At the Headquarters 8 Division, the COAS received a brief on the security situation in Sokoto and the contiguous states from the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Major General Uwem Bassey.
He commended the Officers and soldiers of the Division for their commitment and urged them to redouble their efforts in the fight against banditry.
He advised the commanders to always appreciate the contributions of other stakeholders for supporting the NA in the ongoing joint operations.
He assured the troops of his readiness to provide necessary equipment to conduct their operations.
On troops’ welfare, the COAS assured the personnel of constructing additional accommdation blocks, adding that uniform and military kits would also be provided.
‘’Let me use this opportunity to thank you all for efforts you have made so far to flush out these bandits, but I want you to do more to put a stop to this frequent raid of markets and killing of innocent persons by these bandits.
‘’Let’s take the fight to them to preempt their attacks and flush them out of Sokoto and neighbouring states as quickly as possible,’’ Lt. General Yahaya said.
In continuation of the fulfilment of his pledge to empower Regimental Sergeant Majors, RSMs, of the NA, the COAS presented a Toyota 4×4 Hilux vehicle to the RSM of the Division, Master Warrant Officer Simon Jimba.
General Yahaya reiterated that RSMs were the bedrock of NA regimentation and that as such, adequate attention needed to be accorded them, so they could effectively groom the young soldiers.
The COAS, who also visited the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Dr Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the III, said he was in the Palace to pay his respect and seek the Sultan’s guidance and support, as custodian of culture and tradition of the people.
He noted that the role of traditional leaders in the fight against insecurity was key in every society, stressing that traditional leaders must, therefore, find ways of discouraging youths from partaking in criminality in the society.
However, in Kaduna State, combined air and ground assault by the military killed over 50 bandits in Birnin Gwari forest.
Samuel Aruwan,Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Kaduna State, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said: “In an inspiring success for the security forces, over 50 bandits have been neutralized during a combined ground and air assault in the Saulawa-Farin Ruwa axis of Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State.
“According to operational feedback to Kaduna State government from the Command of the Joint Operations, a Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunship provided close air support to ground troops advancing from the Dogon Dawa-Damari-Saulawa axis.
“Following extensive scans, bandits were spotted on five motorcycles, about 4km east of Saulawa, waiting to ambush the ground forces. They were engaged vigorously by the helicopter gunship, and wiped out.
“After this, armed bandits on about 50 motorcycles were sighted fleeing towards Farin Ruwa, and were struck effectively by the gunship. Fleeing remnants were mopped up by ground forces.
“A second helicopter gunship joined the operations, and many more fleeing bandits were neutralized by precise strikes. Assessment revealed that more than 50 bandits were neutralized during the joint operation.”
Aruwan said Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed satisfaction at the operational feedback, and congratulated the ground troops and gunship crews on the rout.
“He urged them to sustain the momentum and bring even more bandits to their bitter end,” the commissioner said.
Meanwhile, youths, under the aegis of Northern Youth Assembly of Nigeria, NYAN, have called for proactive military action against the criminal activities of bandits across the country.
Speaker of the assembly, Malam Ibrahim Lawal, who made the call in a statement in Abuja,condemned the recent killing of people and destruction of property by bandits at the Gorronyo Central Market in Sokoto State.
Lawal described the attack as barbaric and unacceptable, adding that it was callous and inhuman, considering the high number of lives lost in the incident.
“NYAN condemns the killing in strong terms for whatever reason as this cannot, in any way, solve or address the perceived problems of the attackers.
“It is part of conspiracy to continue with the agenda of destabilizing the economy of the Northern region and rendering it a crisis zone like Afganistan.
“NYAN appeals to youths in the north to remain resolute in their efforts to help end the activities of terrorists in the region,” he said.