•As protesting IDPs set vehicles, secretariat ablaze
By Lawrence Olaoye Abuja and Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
Following the recent attacks on innocent citizens in some parts of the North-Western parts of the country by bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Baba Sadiq, to conduct an assessment tour of Zamfara and Sokoto states.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by a spokesman to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari has also warned that the bloodshed in the country must stop. He described the killings as horrendous violence against humanity.
Shehu stated that the President strongly condemned the killing of innocent Nigerians in Birnin Magaji community in Tsafe Local Government Area and Magami community in Faru District of Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, following attacks by armed bandits.
“These horrendous acts of violence are crimes against humanity. This violence must stop,” he said.
While expressing his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks, the government and people of Zamfara State, the President also wished those injured a speedy recovery.
“The President, who has authorized an assessment trip to Zamfara and Sokoto States by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Baba Sadiq on Christmas and Boxing days, reassured residents of the states plagued by armed bandits, including Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger and Taraba, that their safety is an enduring commitment of his administration and he will continue to ensure that security agencies work round the clock to protect local populations.
“To this end, a major operation by the Nigerian Armed Forces, Police, Department of State Services and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, is being considered to restore peace and stability in the region.
“President Buhari conveyed his strong support to the Nigeria Police Force, which has already deployed Special Forces in each of the local government in Zamfara State and the Defence Headquarters’ deployment of a Special Military Intervention Force comprising more than 1,000 personnel to respond to the security challenges in the North Central and North West.
“These measures, among others, will be intensified to flush out the bandits from wherever they are.
“The President commended Nigerians for their support to the security agencies who have continued to demonstrate dedication, commitment and bravery even in very difficult and complex operations.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of angry Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) taking refuge in Tsafe local government area of Zamfara State have staged a protest over the incessant killings in the state and alleged refusal of government to come to their aid.
The protest, which turned violent, led to the blockage of major roads against travelers either from Sokoto to Kano and Kaduna or to Sokoto and Kebbi states for three hours before a combined security operatives intervened and saved the situation.
Earlier, the protestants invaded Tsafe Local Government Secretariat where they set ablaze some offices and eighteen parked vehicles, involving government and private cars. All were turned to ashes.
On the placards they carried, the protestants were calling the attention of both the local, state and federal governments to do everything possible to ensure an end to the incessant killings of innocent people across the state.
A protestant, who spoke on anonymity said, “We have lost our loved ones; some were parents and community elders, while some were innocent wives, daughters and sisters, leaving a large number of households almost stranded as they have lost their breadwinners to armed bandits.”