The Federal Government has assembled a 1000-strong military force to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of Zamfara State.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, revealed in a statement on Sunday that this followed the directives by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The force comprises men of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Shehu revealed that the Air Force has begun the deployment of fighter aircraft to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara to ensure immediate and effective response to the menace of the bandits.
He explained that this had not been possible in the past because of the absence of a fuel depot facility in Katsina, although the force has now devised a way around the problem.
President Buhari has also authorised the engagement by the Air Force, of advanced satellite surveillance technology to help in accurate detection of movement and locations of the bandits.
According to the Presidency, the government had to go to such extent because of the limitations of conventional surveillance, as the use of satellite technology can make the task of the Air Force less problematic.
The statement said, “Following directives from the President, at the weekend, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, was in Gusau where he met the Deputy Governor of the state.
“The Chief of Air Staff reiterated the President’s pledge that he would never abandon victims of attacks to their fate, reaffirming that security remains one of the cardinal pillars of his campaign promises and no leader would be happy to see his own citizens killed by criminal groups across the country.”
They recalled that since President Buhari’s election in 2015, he has kept faith with his promises to re-equip and motivate the country’s military and other security services.
The Presidency noted that the Army and other security agencies have also been better equipped and motivated to face the challenges of their responsibilities.
They, therefore, appealed to all Nigerians to unite and speak with one voice on security issues and urged politicians to stop exploiting national security challenges.
“Those praying for the President to fail in this effort can be likened to one stabbing oneself in the heart and celebrating about it.
“In this regard, security should not be reduced to petty politics as doing so could only embolden the terrorists and other murderous gangs,” the statement added.
The Presidency called on the media to avoid unhelpful sensationalism in the coverage of events that border on national security, stressing that bandits or terrorists should not be made to feel like superstars.
They said while doing so could hurt the people, the criminals seek to achieve maximum publicity by launching large-scale attacks on soft targets.