Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has said that the bandits troubling the north have aligned with terrorist organisations to wreak large-scale havoc in the region.
Governor Bello stated this on Saturday at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida Specialist Hospital, where he went visiting some soldiers who were recently injured following attacks by bandits in Shiroro within the Kagara Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
“We have every reason to believe we are not dealing with just bandits and with the latest operations and the way they coordinate their attacks, it confirms that they must have some kind of training.
“So we want to believe we are dealing with some terrorist elements who have decided to have some kind of alliance with bandits for whatever reasons,” the governor told newsmen in Minna, the state capital.
Bello who also is the chairman of North Central States Governor’s Forum (NCSGF), was of the opinion that the magnitude of recent attacks carried out by bandits calls for a review of the security architecture.
While noting that the injured soldiers are recuperating, the governor further disclosed that two soldiers died in the Shiroro attack.
Governor Bello passed a vote of confidence in the Nigerian Military, stating that the security operatives are capable of curtailing the situation.
He called for more support from residents and urged individuals with useful and timely information to come forward.
Bello’s remarks come a day after gunmen kidnapped the Permanent Secretary at the Niger State Ministry of Transportation, Dr Ibrahim Musa.
Musa was said to have been abducted from his house along with his son on Friday night in Zungeru, a town in Wushishi Local Government Area (LGA) of the state. A family source said the gunmen entered the house by breaking down the gate, after which they abducted the victim who had just returned from a wedding ceremony.
The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Mary Barje, confirmed the abduction of the government official in a statement on Saturday.
According to Barje’s statement, Governor Bello condemned the abduction of the permanent secretary, describing the incident as evil and inhuman.
The governor prayed for the repose of the souls of those killed, the quick recovery of those injured, and the safe return of all persons kidnapped by the bandits.
He also assured the people of his administration’s commitment to tackling banditry and other forms of security challenges in the state.