By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
No matter their acclaimed voodoo powers, charms and divinatory enchantments, armed bandits are not spirits but human beings with flesh and blood and they can be fallen, Niger State Commander, Corps of Vigilante, Nasiru Mohammed Manta has said emphatically.
Nasiru Mohammed Manta said men of the state’s vigilante Corps were capable of taking the fights to the dens of the killer bandits and flushing them out within three months.
The vigilante Corps Commander asked Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to equip members of the state’s vigilante and give them mandate to flood the bushes and forests in the state to face armed bandits for a size.
He boasted that the armed bandits who have been wrecking untold havoc, pains and destruction on communities in Munya, Shiroro, Rafi, Paikoro, Mashegu and other council areas in the state were not spirit nor super humans but are human beings who have been capitalizing on vulnerable, fear stricken population to unleash mayhem on them.
He vowed that in three months, banditry attacks would be ended if men of the corp are equipped and supported by governments just as he sought the backing of the state and local governments in the state to fund the upkeep of the family members of the corp as they invade forests, caves and mountains occupied by the criminal armed bandits.
Nasiru Mohammed Manta said his men were well prepared for onslaughts against the brutal armed bandits just as he added that his men would bring down the reign of terror by armed bandits in the state once given the necessary support, weapons and logistics.
He however kicked against the calls for joint task force between the corp and any other unknown body for the planned onslaughts against the armed bandits.
He insisted that the state’s vigilante corp should not be mixed with any external forces for any onslaught against the brutality of the armed bandits. According to him, members of the corp do not need the interference or meddling of any other group from anywhere to go into the bushes and forests.
Nasiru Manta spoke on a local radio programme in Minna monitored by our correspondent on Wednesday afternoon where he noted that if the state government was determined to end armed banditry, it should armed men of the vigilante corp and allow them to move into the dens of the armed bandits.
He spoke on the recent promise by the state government to procure Pump Action guns for members of the vigilante corp and described the step as the right thing to do in order to checkmate the activities of armed bandits in parts of the state.
Nasiru Mohammed Manta called for additional support from council Chief Executives across the state in support of the vigilante corp. He said the corp of vigilante in the state were amongst the best organized, patriotic and fearless local crime fighters in the country.
He explained that the corp of vigilante in the state has membership across various ethnic groups including Fulanis, Hausa, Gbagyi, Nupe, Pangu and other ethnic stock from the state even as he deconstructed insinuations that the corp was for one ethnic stock.
The head of the vigilante corp said since members of the corp were laying their lives to make rural dwelling safe, the state and local governments in the state should throw their weights behind the activities of the corp.
The commander of the corp spoke on the activities of artisan miners in the state which he said should be scrutinized and all that all miners should be profiled properly.
He alleged that several times men of the corp on sting operations were hamstrung by miners who cannot be differentiated from armed bandits.
He said there were times members of the corp chase bandits in the bushes only to discover that the persons being chased had ended up in mine pits as artisan miners.
Manta also alleged that some unknown, highly placed persons in the state were forces behind artisan miners operating in the state.
“These big men have connections with the police, with the courts etc. Each time an artisan miner is arrested over banditry, their backers surfaced to bail them out and our men end up in trouble with the police” he said.
He challenged council Chairmen across the state particularly council areas with incidences of armed banditry to support the men of the corp to enable them fight banditry and flush criminal armed bandits out of the state.
“Give us the power to enter the forest. In three months, we would end armed banditry” he insisted.