By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a military crackdown on bandits operating in rural communities in Zamfara State, following fresh attacks on some communities in Shinkafi and Maradun Local Government Areas.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari approved the request of the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen.
Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) for the stationing of a full battalion of Special Forces in Zamfara State, and the operationalization of the newly-established 8 Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto in the new Order of Battle (OBAT) in Orr to enable the army carry out its new mandate.
The President has also approved the movement of the 1 Brigade of the Nigerian Army from Sokoto to Gusau upon the take-off of the 8 Division.
To tackle the desperate actions of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east, through the use of mostly female, underage girls as suicide bombers, Buhari has equally approved the setting up of an intelligence fusion centre in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, for the purpose of gathering and sharing intelligence among the security agencies in the country.
This phase of the war will be intelligence-driven and the new centre is expected to intensify the harvesting and sharing of intelligence so as to bring to an early closure, the desperate last-minute activities of the terrorists.
Commenting on the raging menace of cattle rustling in his state, Zamafara state governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari, said “the problem has been on for over a decade. It has been on and off and there has been so many efforts by the state and federal government that is being put in place. Criminality does not know ethnicity as far as Nigeria is concern but a group of people are benefiting from those criminality and that is why when you stop them in one part the other part will rise up to continue in another place.”
While acknowledging that the fight against banditry in the state was difficult because of the difficult terrain, the governor disclosed that his government was doing a lot of advocacy to sensitize the people on security awareness.