By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State whose government last year signed a truce with the leadership of a band of armed bandits and even paid millions of Naira to them besides releasing over a dozen of some bandits earlier arrested by security operatives to end banditry in parts of the state, which has rather been on the increase, has now vowed never to dialogue with bandits.
Governor Sani Bello declared that henceforth, there will no longer be dialogue between his government and armed bandits who have occupied parts of the state.
He made this known when he received, in audience, security Chiefs led by Deputy Inspector General of Police, (DIG) Abdul Majid Ali and the Assistant Inspector General of Police, (AIG) in-charge of Zone 7, Hosae karma who visited him in his office at the Government House, Minna.
The visit by the security chieftains is on the heels of the recent massive slaughter of twenty eight security personnel who were on patrol at Galadiman Kogo area of Shiroro council of the state.
Governor Sani Bello described as most embarrassing, the persistent attacks by the criminal armed bandits even as he stressed that enough of such dastardly activities by the bandits. “It is time to take the fight to them” he charged angrily.
He condemned in strongest terms, last Sunday’s killing of over two dozens of security agents at Galadiman Kogo in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state and described the attack as one too many.
He noted that the loss of the gallant officers to the bandits was painful and unacceptable.
The governor’s reaction was the first official comments since the incident on Sunday. He said although reports about the unfortunate attack have been unclear, nonetheless he vowed that the suspects who carried out the heinous crime would not go unpunished.
He assured that government would do everything lawfully possible to bring the bandits to justice and end the senseless activities by armed bandits in parts of the state.
“We are working together with governors in the northwest region and security agencies are making progress in tracking and identifying the locations of the criminals and in no distant time, such locations would be identified and attacked” he said.
Governor Sani Bello acknowledged the support and collaboration of the local communities in the renewed efforts to defeat the bandits in the state. He expressed optimism that the recent strategies or measures being adopted by the governors in the region would bring an end to the bloody activities and menace by the bandits.
He commiserated with the Nigeria Army, the Police and families of the gallant officers over the unfortunate incident and prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest.
Leader of the team, DIG Abdul Majid Ali, while expressing shock over the attack and killing of the security operatives, had told their host that they were in the state to have first hand information on the attack carried out on their officers which led to colossal loss of lives.
Since the incident last Sunday, both the Nigeria Army and the Police high command have not made any reaction on the incident except for the visit on governor Abubakar Sani Bello this Thursday.
Apart from the twenty eight bodies of the slain security operatives and of one civilian picked from the scene of the attack, it is not known if there was any survivor of the attack.
Last Sunday afternoon, a band of armed bandits operating at the bushland of Galadiman Kogo area had laid ambush on the patrol team of two Hillux vans and opened fire on the operatives and wasted twenty eight of them plus an unidentified civilian.