The Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has expressed concerns that food production was in jeopardy as a result of the activities of bandits in the northwestern part of the country.
He stated this in an interview with State House Correspondents on Friday in Abuja, when he paid the new Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, a private visit. He also met separately with Minister of Defence and the Service Chiefs over the activities of bandits in the northwest in general and Kaduna State in particular.
According to El-Rufai, the bandits have ravaged the region in the same manner the Boko Haram terrorism did, but applauded the armed forces operations aimed at halting the activities of the criminals. The governor expressed fears that the bandits might migrate to Kaduna State, especially as they had started feeling the heat turned on them in Sokoto and Zamfara states by the military. He charged the military to reinforce its operations in the state as failure to deal with banditry now would take a huge toll on the farming season. He said he has been assured by the Chief of Air Staff that every necessary step would be taken to secure the state for farmers.
“The Sokoto story only hit the headlines just a few days ago, but in Zamfara, in Kaduna, in Niger, in Katsina, this banditry has become a northwestern scourge and we have been battling it with the support of the military; we are very grateful to the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army and in our own particular case, even the Navy has been holding fort Southern Kaduna.
“We’ve been dealing with this issue and our concern now is with the operations in Sokoto and Zamfara, many of the bandits will move to Kaduna, this is part of the reasons I’m here, I’ll be meeting with the Minister of Defence and the Service Chiefs to try to get more military activities, some operations to be strengthened.
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“I must say that they’ve been doing very well, they’ve supported us, but this banditry is a big problem. It’s going to affect agriculture unless it is dealt with and I believe that it will be dealt with. The Chief of Air Staff has assured me that whatever that will need to be done to wipe out the bandits, to enable our farmers to go to farm as the rains advance, will be done. We are confident that things will get better.”
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