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Nigerian Governors from the Northwestern geo plolitical Zone have asked bandits and everyone hiding in the forests to leave or face the wrath of security agencies.
The decision was issued by the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, who stated that the decision was taken in their renewed drive to flush out illegal elements and hoodlums who launch sporadic attacks on innocent citizens using the forests as their bases.
The governor spoke during a special Hausa programme aired on Liberty TV.
His words: ‘Whoever remains in the forest would be regarded as a bandit. Therefore, the security forces will deal with them ruthlessly.’
He went on to state that the governors would forgive bandits who surrender their arms.
The Defence Headquarters yesterday said the full military assault would be deployed against bandits in the North as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), said the country was in a critical situation following the resurgent terrorists’ attacks, banditry, and abductions.
He said the security challenges required Nigerians’ support.
The minister spoke at a National Defence and Security Summit organized by the Defence Headquarters.
Its theme was: Promoting kinetic operations as a major plank for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency in Nigeria.
Magashi said the Federal Government had deployed several approaches in fighting insecurity, including force and dialogue.
He said there were causes for serious national security concerns, such as terrorism, insurgency, farmers/herders conflicts, ethno-religious conflicts, kidnapping, and banditry.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, stressed that the national security threats ‘pose an immediate danger to the corporate existence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, stability and sustainable development of the nation’.
He added: ‘Consequently, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force, President Muhammadu Buhari, has given a clear mandate for action.
‘As a result of the Presidential directive, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is already seized with actions to immediately stabilize the situation,’ he said.
Irabor assured Nigerians that the military will enhance its kinetic operations in tackling the prevailing security challenges confronting the nation.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK