Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Government has countered the state police command in its claim over the death toll in the bandits’ attacks on two communities in the Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
While the police in its account of the incident contained in a statement by its Public Relations Officer DSP Wasiu Abiodun claimed 13 people were killed, the government in its statement said “scores of villagers” were killed in the incident.
The government position was contained in a statement signed on behalf of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello by his Chief Press Secretary Mrs. Mary Noel Berje.
Giving the government’s account of the incident the statement said: “Governor Abubakar Sani Bello describes the recent attacks in some communities of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State by a terrorist group, that left scores of villagers dead, as insane and unacceptable
“The attacks led to the killing of many, houses and food barns were also burnt” the statement said.
Governor Bello said he shared in the pains and grief of the villagers and promised that more decisive actions would be taken to guarantee the lives of the inhabitants of the communities.
Bello also described the act “as barbaric and inhumane” adding that efforts would be intensified by government and security agencies to ensure that desperate terrorists, who are on the run, are captured and brought to justice
“We are worried by the nefarious activities of these terrorists, desperation has been noticed amongst them as a result of the onslaught of security agents which has made them to target unsuspecting rural inhabitants.
“It is now time that full-fledged war should be declared on these unscrupulous elements since they have been proclaimed as terrorists. We cannot just allow these people to continue with this massacre”, he said adding that “a coordinated and simultaneous attack on the terrorists by security agents in the affected states will go a long way towards achieving success
Bello said that the worrisome part of the security challenges is the inability of the farmers to harvest their farm produce which may likely trigger food scarcity in the state.
He commiserated with the victims of the affected communities, especially those in Nakudna and Wurukuchi, promising that more decisive actions would be taken to guarantee the lives of the inhabitants of the communities.
The Police had said that at least 13 people in two Niger villages in the Shiroro local government area of the state.
The police said the deceased villagers were killed while harvesting their crops in Nukundna and Wurukuchi villages on Tuesday.
Police Public Relations Officer Niger State Police Command DSP Wasiu Abiodun, in a statement, said however that details of the attack “are still sketchy as a result of the difficult terrain of the villages”.
Abiodun said the Divisional Police Officer in the area has led men of the Tactical Team of the force to begin a manhunt for the bandits.
He assured the people of the state that the police would continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens but solicited for information that would lead to the arrest of the bandits.