The lawmakers who made the call during Tuesday’s plenary also commended the President for ordering military action against bandits in Katsina State but noted that some other states also needed such strong and decisive actions.
The call from the lawmakers followed the consideration of a motion on the need to integrate adjoining States of Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi and Sokoto to the ongoing military action against bandits in Katsina.
The motion was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).
Members of the upper legislative chamber also called on the Military and the Police to increase their surveillance operation to track movements by these armed bandits.
Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) while contributing to the motion on the Senate floor, lamented that no fewer that 5,000 members of his constituency have since fled to take refuge in Niger Republic due to the activities of the bandits.
He said: “The fallout of this is the grinding poverty ravaging the affected people in form of serious hunger since their cows and other animals are being stolen and even money made from some of the cows they hurriedly sold.
“The situation is so bad that we only get help from Niger Republic and not from Nigeria at all, be it from the Military or the Police.
“The affected people cannot perpetually be at the mercy of Nigerien soldiers and still be expected to proudly see themselves as Nigerians.
“Very urgent drastic action is required from President Buhari through the military in form of expansion of anti-banditry operation currently being carried out in Zamfara and Katsina State to Sokoto State.”
Senator Abdullahi in his lead debate said the legislators are aware “President Muhammadu Buhari had authorized the commencement of a major military operation to sweep bandits and kidnappers out of Katsina state; as major proactive measures by Special Forces to replace the reactive strikes against the camps of these bandits and criminals.”
He noted that, “the criminalities by these armed bandits and kidnappers is carried out mostly under the cover of the contiguous forests reserves and areas stretching from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States with pockets of safe havens in Kebbi and Asokoro states.”
He, therefore, called on the military offensive to be extended to other neighboring states to ensure the bandits don’t find cover in such places.
“A major offensive in Katsina State alone is likely to make the armed bandits and kidnappers seek safer haven in Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states which hosts the Zurmi and Kamuku forests among others, further compounding the plight of hapless and poor communities along these forest corridors.”
“It was the earlier massive operations in Zamfara and Kaduna states that led the armed bandits to seek safe haven elsewhere, thus moving into Katsina and Niger States respectively.”
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, noted that the security challenges in the country are enormous but will surely be overcome.
“Nigeria is definitely up to the task and Mr President will deploy military to the areas for restoration of sanity as gradually being witnessed in Zamfara and Katsina States,” Lawan said.
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