Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari on Tuesday raised the alarm that the armed bandits terrorizing the state and other states in the North West have more sophisticated equipment than the Nigerian military.
Yari spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, it was discovered that the bandits have over 500 AK 47 assault rifles in their possession during the meeting the state government team including the military had with the miscreants.
Yari, who is Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF), said that the meeting was to dialogue with the bandits for them to lay down their arms.
He regretted that no meaningful achievement was recorded.
He also said that the government team including the security agents took pictures with the bandits inside their armoury, adding that the only solution to flush the bandits out was the provision of adequate equipment to the military and a show of force.
Yari welcomed the suggestion by his Katsina State counterpart, Aminu Bello Masari for collaborations between Katsina, Zamfara, and part of Niger Republic to curb the issue of banditry in the North West.
He said: “Well, I think it is not just state by state matter but a regional problem. Because, we are surrounded by forests. We have Kuyambana to Rugu down to Maradi Republic.
“The bandits are taking advantage of the fact that we are living like an Island because we are surrounded by forests from Sokoto we have Basuguma around, in Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Niger, we have Kuyambana Dansado forest there, in Katsina, we have Rugu and at South East of Zamfara where we have Maradi, we have forest there.
“So as the governor of Katsina said, we have to collaborate. I know our security chiefs meet quarterly to review their performance, the gain and the loss, the same thing goes for our brothers in Maladi.
“I think the operations need to be carried out simultaneously because the issue is we are surrounded by a forest. The point is, when Katsina puts pressure on the bandits they will run into the forest in Zamfara, if Zamfara puts pressure on them, then they will move to Minna or Birnin Gwari. So this is the issue, so there is need for collaboration.
“So the soldiers need to be equipped with the equipment that can stand the test of time. Monday, when we were having our security meeting, we could understand the constraints of the security personnel that are on ground there.
“We are definitely going to collaborate, especially since I am running on the last lap of my full tenure, I will ensure that in these months that are left, we will leave behind a peaceful state for the new administration that is coming in.” he said
On whether there was the likelihood of having new equipment delivered to the army to confront the bandits he said that the federal government had already given procurement contracts for the supply of military equipment.
He said, “The federal government has already given procurement contracts, inter-government transaction to the United States, China and other European countries. Recall that in 2017, the Nigeria Governors Forum, approved $1 billion to support the federal government’s effort in equipping the security agencies.
“We believe the equipment will soon come into the country and it is our hope that the equipment will be used so that this worrisome situation that we are will become history.”
Ruling out the possibility of having dialogues with the group terrorizing the state, he said that previous attempts made to dialogue with the bandits did not produce any positive results.
Culled from: The Nation Newspaper
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