Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello, has said that the State is at a serious crisis level equivalent to a war situation and has to be treated as such.
Governor Bello said this on Sunday, in a statement expressing his outrage at the escalating level of banditry in the State, while also reiterating his emergency call on the federal government for prompt intervention.
The governor spoke against the backdrop of bandits’ attacks in Rafi, Wushishi, and Lavun local government areas in the State. He said the attacks occurred in Tegina, Wushishi and Batati communities.
“The situation has reached crisis level, in fact, it’s a war situation that we have to confront without further delay,” the governor’s spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, quoted him as saying, in the statement.
The official said the gunmen, riding on about 70 motorcycles, attacked 17 communities in Wushishi Local Government Area where they shot several people. Some women and children drowned as they tried to escape across River Kaduna.
“More than 10 people are reported to be receiving treatment at the Wushishi General Hospital even as search is still on-going for many missing persons from Babako, Tashan-Girgi, Kwakwagi, Fakara, Ndiga, Buzu, Akare, Kala-Kala, Agwa, Anguwan Gizo, Tsamiya and other neighbouring villages attacked by the Bandits, Noel-Berje further said.
The governor described as unfortunate and unbecoming of the serial attacks and assured that the Joint Military Task Force has been mobilised and are already tracing the tracks of the criminals for possible isolation and ambush.
The governor further said the State government was still searching and conducting house-to-house headcount to ascertain the exact number of children abducted.
Bello further appealed for calm and restated the strong resolve of the State government to continue to protect the lives and property of the citizens as a matter of utmost importance and priority.