Bandits now close to Abuja, Rep warns

A member of the House of Representatives, Shehu Beji, has raised the alarm over the migration of bandits towards the Federal Capital Territory.

Bandits had recently attacked Tungan Maje area of Abuja where they kidnapped people and demanded ransom.

Beji, at the plenary on Wednesday, had moved a motion titled, ‘Call for the Establishment of Military Base to Combat Banditry attacks in Shiroro/Rafi/Munya Local Government Areas of Niger State Spilling into Kafinkoro, Ishau and Adunu Wards under Bosso/Paikoro Federal Constituency.’

Beji, in the motion, decried that the “unjustifiable retention of the service chiefs may be the cause of the lingering problem, as their defensive strategies seem to be obsolete and must have outgrown further learning.”

According to him, the spate of insecurity has “reached its highest crescendo that if not urgently addressed, Nigeria may dangerously go the way of Rwanda, Somalia, etc.”

He noted that Shiroro/Rafi/Munya Federal Constituency is comprised of three Local Government Areas, two of which are geographically bound by Bosso/Paikoro Federal Constituency of Niger State.

He decried the recent recurrent attacks on Rafi and Shiroro Local Government Areas of Niger State where lives and property are being lost by the day, saying that the operational structure of the Nigerian military requires urgent reforms.

The lawmaker said, “A few days ago, the nation lost one of her military commanders and three other officers of the Nigerian Army at the battlefield. On 24 September 2020, a media outlet, Sahara Reporters, reported that troops of the Nigerian Army are furious at the authorities for not recognising other soldiers killed alongside Dahiru Bako, a Colonel and Commander of Sector 2, Operation Lafiya Dole, the team combating terrorism in the North-East region of the country.

“The House is disturbed that such utter disregard and disrespectful gesture meted out on Bereaved families of junior fallen heroes is demoralising the gallantry spirit of our soldiers at the battlefields. Despite all efforts to curb banditry activities in affected areas of Niger State, the situation had continued to escalate to the extent that our farmers have completely been severed from farming activities which are the mainstay of our economy.

“The House is also concerned that even the Federal Capital Territory, where national and international businesses are being conducted, is no longer safe as there have been reported cases of kidnappings/banditry within the FCT. The rate of killings across the nation, which is now spilling into the Federal Capital Territory, is breeding a global embarrassment depicting how less prepared again in terms of security.”

Beji noted that given the proximity of the affected communities and some parts of Paikoro LGA, the bandits’ attacks had sometimes spilled into Kafinkoro, Ishau, and Adunu Wards under Bosso/Paikoro Federal Constituency.

He said, “The House is disturbed that in December 2019 the Niger State caucus of the House joined a contingent of stakeholders from Niger State to the Presidency, where the same problem of banditry and kidnapping was the front burning issue discussed with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet the killings continue.

“In view of the recurrent attacks, there have been outcries for the establishment of military bases in the affected axis, but the President only ordered for deployment of military men to cover those communities, which has not changed anything.”

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Army to facilitate the establishment of permanent military bases in the affected areas, while urging the National Emergency Management Agency to urgently send relief materials to the victims of the bandits’ attacks.

Chairman of the House Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas, however, called for the amendment of the motion, to delete the second prayer which read, “Urge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to fast track dissolution of the Nigerian service chiefs and appoint new ones with fresh strategies for combatting insecurity.”

According to Namdas, the House had previously passed resolutions calling for service chiefs’ sacking or resignation.

The prayer was unanimously adopted.

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