Military onslaught in north-west dangerous for Kaduna, says El-Rufai
—wants quick action to save farmers
Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai has expressed fears that the ongoing military onslaught in the north-west could force bandits to besiege Kaduna State and compound the precarious security predicament facing the people.
President Mohammadu Buhari had on Thursday directed sustained military offensive against bandits operating and tormenting citizens in the north-west and north-central states of the country.
The offensive code-named “Operation Accord”, President Buhari said, is intended to deny the bandits any breathing space to reorganize and regroup.
But El-Rufai on Friday stormed the Presidential villa, Abuja, where he expressed fear that the bandits could shift their base to Kaduna where they would continue with their nefarious activities if not checked by the authorities.
Speaking with State House correspondents, the Governor warned that if such scourge was not tamed, the development would affect the planting season this year hence his decision to seek quick intervention in order to nib the situation in the bud.
“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 Defense and the Service Chiefs to try to get more military activities, some operations to be strengthened.
“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.
“It’s most unfortunate that we’ve had to deal with it in the northwest in the same way that Boko Haram ravaged the northeast, these bandits are also becoming a serious problem in the northwest, but the problem is being addressed.”
Governor El-Rufai said his administration was dealing with a very difficult situation, and an economy that is already going to go into depression owing to the coronavirus global pandemic.
“There’s nothing we can do about that, revenues have collapsed,” calling for more investments in the areas of public health facilities, treatment and security, among others.
He said, because of the global situation owing to the pandemic, many of his colleagues, governors, “have forgotten that we’ve even spent one year in the office.
“So it is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and for the almighty God to end this pandemic. It is a major problem, but working together, we are a resilient nation and I’m sure we’ll overcome it.”