By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
A budding humanitarian situation is unfolding in Niger as fifty villages in Shiroro and Munay council areas of the state have been forcefully deserted following spike in banditry attacks on communities in parts of the state within one week.
No fewer than 3,000 persons, mostly women and small children including infants and minors are now partially camped at the IBB Primary school in the heart of Minna, the state capital.
Reacting to the sad development, former governor of the state, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu in a message of condolence to the government and people of the state over the latest wave of attacks, expressed sorrow and worry as communities in the state come under unprovoked and defenceless attacks from unrelenting armed bandits.
He said there was the urgent need to respond appropriately to the emerging humanitarian situation as much as the consequential security implications therefrom.
Dr. Babangida Aliyu called on the federal government to quickly rejigged its response strategies to the spiral rise to security challenges in the state and other parts of the country as a matter of sovereignty, national security, public safety and national pride as no nation worth a name could sit back and watch as it is turned into shreds by militia forces.
He therefore called for coordinated counter offensives against all criminal elements currently holding the country to ransom even as he charged the federal government, the National Assembly, and all security formations in the country to scale up strategies for repulsive offensives against criminal armed bandits occupying ungoverned spaces across the country.
Babangida Aliyu who also condoled with the Emir of Minna, Alhaji (Dr.) Umat Farouq Bahago whose subjects in Shiroro, Chiro, Guni, Kuchi, Zazzaga Manta among other communities are places worst affected, advised the federal government to deploy what he described as last resort for the reprehensive and dastardly activities of armed bandits.
A statement of condolences issued by his Director of Media in Minna, the erstwhile governor condoled with the entire communities sacked by the bandits. He urged the state and particularly the federal government to immediately respond to the SOS and deploy relief materials to the displaced and dislocated persons who are now quartered in public schools at Gwada and in Minna.
For the first time, Minna, the state capital is now hosting over 3,000 displaced persons who were chased out of their communities in the latest attacks where twelve lives were lost and no fewer than twenty seven persons, mostly women were abducted by the bandits at Kuchi village alone.
At Zazzaga and Kuchi areas of Munya, bands armed bandits on motorcycles swooped on the communities and killed four persons including a military personnel after sacking a makeshift military camp at entrance of the village.
The bandits burnt a patrol vehicle belonging to the military and raised the camp after which they descended on the communities. Scores of persons were left wounded from gunshots.
Former governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu reasoned that the rise in armed banditry in the state nay other parts of the country portended grave danger, adding that the federal government should declare far reaching offensives on the bandits and other criminal elements.
He cautioned however that failure to act decisively now, the escalation in armed banditry could engulf the country and spell more doom for Nigeria.