Omololu Ogunmade and Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday in Abuja condemned the latest bandit attacks in Gandi District of Rabah Local Government Council, Sokoto State, which claimed 30 lives.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, last night, said Buhari was shocked and saddened by the latest violence which he described as “utterly evil, callous, reckless, thoughtless and reprehensible.”
He said the president lamented that: “The persistent killing of innocent and defenceless villagers by murderous thugs is unacceptable, and my administration is leaving no stone unturned to track down these mass murderers and bring them to justice.”
Shehu said the president gave a firm instruction to the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to quickly bring on board joint operations that will rid the country of all forms of criminal activities.
He also said Buhari approved meetings between security and defence officials from Nigeria and neighbouring Niger Republic for joint operations that will sweep the forests.
According to him, the president assured the people of Sokoto State and other areas affected by banditry that his administration’s commitment to security ‘remains undiminished’ and that ‘efforts are being made to improve intelligence gathering and rapid emergency response strategies.’
He also quoted him as saying, “Let me reassure the people of Sokoto State and other parts of the country facing security challenges that no citizen will be abandoned to their fate. Security occupies the centre stage of my administration’s policies, and this commitment is being pursued with more vigour as we make efforts to provide more equipment to our security personnel to enable them perform the task effectively.”
The statement added, “While consoling the families of the victims, President Buhari reassured the people that “criminals won’t be allowed to hold the citizens to ransom and that poverty is no excuse for any group to take up arms against innocent people and kill them in cold blood.”
“The President said that he will ensure the murderers, who are already in police custody, are speedily prosecuted in order to send a clear message that nobody will get away with such heinous crimes.
“President Buhari called on state and local governments to stop their holier-than-thou attitude and ensure the mass mobilisation of all citizens to assist security agents, noting that security is everybody’s business.” In a related development, Saraki has also condemned the gruesome killing of dozens of innocent Nigerians by suspected bandits in Sokoto State.
He has, therefore, called on the nation’s security agencies to immediately secure the area and apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Saraki, in a statement issued yesterday, described the killings as worrisome and disheartening, adding that the wanton loss of human lives that occurs in Zamfara State is now making its way into Sokoto State and other adjoining states in the North West zone.
He called on the security forces to take urgent measures to rout the notorious bandits so as to halt their incessant attacks against innocent citizens in all states in the North-west zone in particular and across the country in general.
The Senate president insisted that necessary efforts must be intensified to secure all Nigerians irrespective of whether they are in North-west, North-east and all other geo-political zones of the country, especially as the elections draw close.
He commiserated with the government and people of Sokoto State, while also praying for the repose of the souls of the victims who lost their lives in the incident and prayed for quick recovery of those who suffered varied degrees of injuries.
Saraki called on the governors of the North-west states to come together and partner the security agencies in order to find lasting solution to the activities of “these monsters now making life unbearable for innocent citizens in the geo-political zone.”
According to him, the 8th National Assembly will continue to ensure that the security