We will use force to end banditry in N/C states- Bello

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(Minna)

The Governor of Niger state and Chairman, North-Central Governors’ forum, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello says only decisive action by the government can send the bandits terrorizing communities in parts of the state packing.

According to him, this is the only option left for him now.

Bello, in an interaction with journalists in Minna said, “We have tried peaceful negotiation by way of offering them amnesty, but all this failed as the bandits have continued to kill our people in villages especially in Rafi, Shiroro and Munya”.

Giving an update of efforts being made by the state government to end wanton killing of villagers, raping of women and their children and as well carting away cattle, the Governor said his administration could no longer condone the bandits.

He told journalists, shortly after meeting with the Niger State COVID 19 Taskforce Committee and other stakeholders at the Government House, Minna that: “It has become clear and obvious that the amnesty programme for some of the bandits is not just working.

He noted that as a government with the mandate to protect the lif and property of the citizenry,it had become expedient to assert itself to its responsibility.

This he added would be done through the use of whatever means available to end the nefarious activities of the criminals, adding that their recklessness had been tolerated long enough.

“We find it difficult to know what exactly they want order than shedding of innocent blood.

“By all civilized approach, we have engaged the bandits even providing them soft landing by providing them with a lifeline to stop their activities but all these have hit the rock,”he said.

The north-central Governors’ forum chairman decried the way and manner the bandits had continued to unleash terror, pain and sorrow on the victims.

According to Bello, the objective of seeing an end to banditry is to provide them with a safe environment for normal life but regretted that this they incidentally rejected.

The governor said efforts to rehabilitate the victims, for them to return to their ancestral homes to pick their bits and pieces had also failed.

According to him the economic life to thrive is not in sight, attributing the development to the fact that the bandits have continued to increase in number.

He also accused the perpetrators of denying the locals access to their farms through incessant attacks and cattle rustling.

“If the activities of the bandits are not checked and stopped, it will lead to severe consequences, including but not limited to hunger.

“The danger here is that, the bandits have refused to let our local people, our farmers to operate, we will be heading towards famine and starvation,” he said.

Part of joint efforts to end armed banditry, Governor Bello said was the teleconference being organized between Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto and Katsina states with a view to sharing common boundaries.

He said joint effort would come up with a policy on how best to end the havoc within shortest time possible.

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