By Laleye Dipo
Residents of communities attacked by bandits in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State on Monday cried out that they have been abandoned by the Niger State Government.
This is just as they also said their areas are now bandits and terrorists safe haven.
The communities from Lakpma axis of the local government, made up of eight wards, told newsmen in Minna that the state government has not reacted to the killings and attacks that have been taking place in their areas since 2017.
The President of Lakpma Youth Assembly, Mr Jibrin Allawa, said despite the daily carnage taking place in the area, the community is devoid of health facilities, adding that the area does not have basic social amenities.
Allawa said with the development, 100 communities that moved to Allawa where they sought refuge have now been displaced by the bandits and are now residing in self made IDP camps, adding that the bandits have totally taken over all the communities.
The president said as at 2017 before “we lost count”, no fewer than 120 villagers were killed by bandits, while over N189 million was paid to bandits as ransom in the same period in the area.
Reacting to the withdrawal of men of the Joint Security Taskforce from Allawa and Bassa communities following the massacre of seven security men last Thursday, the president said the bandits have been on the loose in the areas.
“As a fallout to the withdrawal of the Joint Security Taskforce, bandits have the effrontery of invading Allawa and Gyaramiya on daily basis and ransacking the entire community. They have been on a looting spree each day to the extent of bragging that they are in charge of Allawa.
“Allawa, Bassa and adjoining communities are now porous and vulnerable, bandits dictate the norm and call the shots,” he said.
He therefore called on the appropriate authorities to rescind the decision of withdrawing men of the Joint Security Taskforce from Allawa and Bassa and urgently mobilise resources and personnel back to Allawa and Bassa, adding that government should immediately provide relief materials to displaced persons in Pandogari and other areas.
He warned that if government did not do the needful as far security in the area is concerned, “we shall mobilise our displaced and hopeless kinsmen to occupy and take shelter in government facilities within Minna”, adding that they would also boycott all civic responsibilities to the state.
At the press conference were youth leaders from all the affected wards.
Efforts to speak with the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, and the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Idris, were abortive as calls made to their cell phones were not responded to.