By Laleye Dipo in Minna
No fewer than 150 bandits sacked from some villages in Zamfara State are now hibernating in Sarkin-Pawa in Munya Local Government of Niger State.
The bandits are said to be making life unbearable for the villagers, at times maiming, kidnapping and killing innocent people.
The development has also negatively affected the socio-economic lives of the people in the community.
The Secretary of the local government, Alhaji Aliyu Dogo, told newsmen who were on tour of the area that “as at now, we cannot sleep with our two eyes closed, the bandits are committing all forms of crime on our land”.
Dogo added that: “For some time now in Sarikin Pawa, people go about their normal businesses with no fear of attack but when these bandits chased from Zamfara came to stay in our forest life is not what it used to be,”
The secretary, who put the number of the bandits at 150, explained that: “The bandits from Zamfara have been terrorising villages situated along Sarikin Pawa-Kaduna road. When we got the information that they are around, we alerted the state government and they responded promptly by deploying security operatives comprising military, police and vigilante to deal with the situation.
“I can say that government has mobilised not less than 80 armed security men to our area to flush out these bandits.”
He said the arrival of the security operatives has drastically reduced the menace of the bandits, but added that “there is still much to do to return life to what it used to be here”.
The leader of the vigilante in Sarikin -Pawa, Malam Saliah Mohammed, corroborated the council secretary’s account but blamed the security challenge in the area on the porous boundaries in Kaduna, Zamfara and other neighbouring states.
Mohammed said the joint efforts of the security agencies provided by the state government have reduced the bandits’ operations in Munya and its environs.
He however said that there was mistrust between informants, the communities and the security operatives resulting in people refusing to oblige the security team with intelligence.
The police could not be reached to confirm the story.
Following the escalation in the operation of bandits, men of the Nigerian Army were presently carrying out operations in the area to dislodge these criminal elements.