By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT Gusau
No fewer than 15, 000 Nigerians from Sokoto and Zamfara states affected by activities of banditry are currently taking refuge in Niger Republic, says the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Head, NEMA Sokoto Operations Office in charge of Sokoto Kebbi and Zamfara states, Dr Kofoworola Soleye made the disclosure on Thursday in Gusau at a one-day Interactive meeting with relevant stakeholders in disaster management.
Soleye said the agency discovered this during an assessment tour by the agency’s staff, International Humanitarian Organizations, Government authorities and other critical stakeholders to conduct need assessment of the victims of bandits attacks in the two states.
“The assessment team discovered that following the attack, no fewer than 15, 000 Nigerians mostly Women and Children are presently who fled their villages are currently taking refuge in Gidan Rumojii in Maradi Region of the Niger Republic”, he said.
Soleye said having done the need assessment, relief packages will be sent to the victims to reduce their burden and ensure that they are returned back to the country to continue to live in their various communities.
The Emir of Anka and Chairman Zamfara State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmad said efforts should be intensified towards mitigating crisis rather than giving reliefs.
“If we are serious about curbing banditry then there must permanent redeployment of security agencies to the rural areas particularly volatile areas to enable them respond promptly to distress calls”, he said.
The Emir also challenged Nigeria engineers to develop small emergency response equipment to be used in an event of emergency.
“Our engineers need to develop small equipment such as fire fighting engine which can be mounted on keke Napep to be use for putting extinguishing fire instead waiting for 30,000 litres fire fighting vans. This will go a long way in controlling many disaster before it gets out of hand”, he said.
The meeting organised by the NEMA Sokoto Operations Office brought together lead humanitarian agencies to prepare them to act swiftly in an event of emergency.
It will be recalled that Soleye had earlier on Wednesday represented NEMA DG, Mustapha Maihaja flag off the distribution of the last 7 trucks out of the 20 truck relief materials donated by the federal government to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of bandits attacks in Zamfara State.