By Correspondent in Minna.
Niger State Goernment has lamented that it’s landmass, which used to be a source of blessing has turned to pain, as appreciable number of combined forces of Boko-Haram and the ISWAP were in the state and openly operating in Borgu and Shiroro Loca Government Areas.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Matane,stated this while briefing journalists, for the first time about the seeming complicating security situation and efforts being made by the state government to check the trend.
He noted that the state at the moment could not give vivid account of the number of attacks and casualties on its landmass due to invasions by the armed men almost on a daily basis in some distant and remote villages, including Borgu, Babana and along fringes of Benin and Niger Republics.
Our Correspondent reports that the briefing is coming after months of attacks and counter-attacks by the terrorist group whose activities caused the killing of both members of security forces, many civilians and abduction of hundreds of people, particularly women, their daughters and properties destroyed.
Matane said efforts by the ISWAP and Boko-Haram with strong hold in Zamfara state forests and in Chukun area of Kaduna state to establish santuary in Niger state had not been successful, notwithstanding the state verse land which would have been to its advantage.
“Some villages and local government areas will take you as much as seven hours before you get there,how do you engage a group of people who use sophisticated equipment, satellite phones and gun trucks with the type of equipment we have,”he said.
He also told journalists that, like Niger state, all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja had been infiltrated by the combined ISWAP and Boko-Haram joint forces trying to inductrinate their victims with their Islamic ideologies.
“There is appreciable number of joint ISWAP and Boko-Haram forces along boarder town to Benin Republic and they have been trying to install Hakimis and forcing communities to pay a kind of royalty by traders and farmers before allowing them to access their farmlands. They are the ones responsible for the kidnap of the Dodo of Wawa.”
The SSG said the group tried to deceive the locals by claiming that they were not bandits, but sent by God as they tried indoctrinating them with their beliefs in trying to establish a calipha around the Kainji National Park,located in Borgu Local Government Area of the state,
“Though Benin Republic has closed borders against them, the joint ISWAP/Boko-Haram are operating around the periphery, trying to discourage the locals from sending their children to school and accept their teachings and to forget about what the government is telling them,”he added.
On the possibility of states in the north-central forming a joint force to tackle the menace headlong, the SSG said, “forming a joint force is not going to be possible but every state has its own way of approaching security threats.”
Matane said it was due to the near impossibility of using lethal force to confront the group that the state government took a number of alternative security measures.
These measures,he added, include the ban on the sale of particular brands of motorcycles, regulating the number of motor parks and checking operation of commercial motorcycles across the 25 Local Government Areas.
Edited by Dada Ahmed.