The Federal Government yesterday blamed the persistent bandit attacks in Zamfara and Kaduna States on drug abuse among the youths in area.
It called on all stakeholders to join hands to address the challenges, saying within the past three years the present administration and the Armed Forces of Nigeria had committed troops and resources into the fight against bandits especially in the North West zone of the country.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali in a response to the latest bandit attack in Zamfara State emphasized that series of military/security measures have been taken by the government to tackle the problem.
In a statement signed by the Minister’s Public Relations officer, Colonel Tukur Gusau, the Minister insisted that the Ministry of Defence went as far as approving creation of Army Division and a Brigade among other measures to address the challenges of bandit attacks in the zone.
He added that the setting up of Operation Sharan Daji, contributed over 1000 troops from the Armed Forces and other Security agencies towards addressing the problem.
Said the Minister :”The Ministry of Defence under the leadership of Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali commiserates with the government and people of Zamfara and Kaduna States over the recent attacks that claim the lives of law abiding citizens in the states and also lost of properties.
“The Hon Minister prays to Almighty Allah to grant the lives lost an eternal rest and also grant their families the fortitude to bear this unfortunate lost.
“However, it is imperative to state that Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces of Nigeria have remained committed and resolute in tackling current security challenges across the country, ensure safety of lives and properties as well as protect the nation from both external and internal aggression.
“It is pertinent to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is currently engaged in various Internal Security operations across the country and has made concerted efforts in tackling the incessant killings by armed bandits and other criminal activities in the North-West particularly in Zamfara and Kaduna states.
“It is worthy to note that some of the efforts made by the Federal Government include the creation of 8 Division, Nigerian Army in Sokoto and the establishment of a Brigade in Gusau and another one to be located in Birnin Kebbi to address security challenges in the North-West.
“Also, the Nigerian Air Force Quick Response Force was established in Gusau to give air support to the ground troops. Additionally, 500 troops of Nigerian Armed Forces and 500 other security agents were recently deployed to join Operation SHARAN DAJI to curb the activities of armed bandits and other security challenges in Zamfara and Kaduna states and the region in general.
“Recently, the Ministry directed the General Officer Commanding 8 Division to relocate his Tactical Headquarters from Sokoto to Gusau to adequately coordinate activities of Operation SHARAN DAJI until normalcy returns in the State.
“These are all geared towards realizing the mandate of the Ministry of Defence and achieving the Federal Government’s drive on security of its citizens and properties.
“However, it is noteworthy to state that the issue of drug abuse, unemployment and governance amongst others contributes to the deplorable security situation in Zamfara State.
“It is therefore suggested that the all necessary stakeholders should come together and take necessary steps to address these issues and to provide adequate support to security agencies so as to get maximum cooperation. “