President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told Nigerians that the Armed Forces “are fully capable of dealing with the challenges of banditry and terrorism,” urging them to be more patient as the military takes appropriate steps to block gaps being exploited to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.
The President’s reassurance is coming in the wake of protests by youths in his home State of Katsina over the renewed bandit killings, kidnappings, robbery and cattle rustlings in the State
Governor Aminu Masari had last weekend admitted that bandits have overwhemlmed his State government as over 200 bandits killed over 50 villagers across eight communities in Faskari Local Government Area of the State.
The well-atended peaceful protest tagged ‘Stop the bloodshed’ drew members from a coalition of Northern groups and some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the State.
During the protest, all major streets linking the Kangiwa Square, venue of the protest, were barricaded by the Nigeria Police and other security operatives. At a time, political thugs attempted to hijack the protest.
But in a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, said that President Buhari had already approved a joint military and police operation specifically targeted at combing Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto States to rid the areas of bandits.
The operation, which was launched three weeks ago, the Presidential Spokesperson noted, has ensure the improvement in surveillance with more night vision aircrafts already deployed under “Operation Accord.”
“Nigeria’s military has displayed its capabilities in the past and will show it again by dealing with the current challenges,” the President says.
President Buhari appealed to the people of Katsina State to be patient and supportive of the ongoing military operations in the state, while sympathizing with those who are bereaved, injured and lost properties.
President Buhari admonishes that taking to the streets for protest could distract the military operations, urging “Katsina indigenes not to give up on the military who over the years have a strong track record of quelling crises once given enough time.
“The major forests in North Western Nigeria have been identified as home to the bandits in the region. The operation will clear all these forests,’’ he further said.