President Muhammadu Buhari has bowed to pressure of Nigerians to speak up against the spate of killings in Zamfara State, reassuring that ending banditry remains a key priority of his administration.
There have been protests across some states in Nigeria and in London, United Kingdom, calling for declaration of state of emergency in the state over the killings.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday, Mr Buhari said that he would do whatever it takes to ensure the country’s security system confronts these public enemies with merciless determination.
The president condoled with all those affected by the unfortunate events.
Buhari described as ridiculous allegation of indifferent being levelled against him in some quarters.
“How can I be happy and indifferent to the senseless killings of my fellow citizens by bandits?
“I am human and I understand the pains of the victims and their families who have been traumatised and impoverished by constant ransom demands by bandits.
“The politicisation of tragedy reveals the darkest sides of our primitive politics. Almost every week, I summon my security chiefs to get an update on the strategies being devised to defeat these mass murderers.
“There is no issue that dominates my mind every 24 hours like security, because as an elected President, protecting life and property remains primary function of my administration.
“I constantly listen to our security personnel in order to understand their problems and needs, and I have never hesitated to attend to those needs in terms of motivating and equipping them to respond effectively to our security challenges.
“It is therefore ridiculous to suggest that I am indifferent to these killings.
“I have ordered rapid and robust deployment of troops to all the areas currently under attack from bandits and we are determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and utterly defeated,” Mr Buhari said.
He however, called on communities affected by banditry to support and cooperate with the security agencies, particularly the recently launched Operation Puff Adder to battle bandits and kidnappers.
The president said it was regrettable that bandits had informants within some communities and utterly reprehensible that certain communities had signed protection deals with bandits at the expense of other communities, thereby creating complications and frustrating government’s intervention
He appealed to communities to report suspicious movements of the bandits into their areas within the shortest available opportunity, especially considering the fact that “intelligence is critical to detecting, frustrating, neutralising and defeating the criminals.”