Children are being taken out of school by insurgents in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, defying government orders.
When farmers refused to pay an additional tax, bandits have taken to torching their crops in order to intimidate them.
In Minna, the state capital, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, the Secretary to the State Government, gave a security update on Tuesday.
In Kwaki, Kusaso, Kawure, Chikuba, Kurebe, Madaka, Farin-Dutse, Falali, and Ibbru communities, he said these things were occurring.
We believe these are the areas where Boko Haram and ISWAP are operating, because these people came and tried to align with communities, telling them that they must cooperate with them so that they may be free; they would not touch them, said Matane.
Every Friday prayer, they come and preach to the communities not to send their children to school.
“We’ve also seen recently, where bandits in some locations were charging communities to access their farms.
“They are deliberate because they know that this is harvest season, and farmers would be eager to harvest their farm produce.
When a community refuses to pay a tax, “bandits go and set the farms on fire,” the SSG remarked.
He claimed that Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) had also been active in the Borgu Local Government Area, which borders the Benin Republic.
Munya and Shiroro and parts of Msshegu and Lapai share a border with neighbouring states in terms of security challenges.
He bemoaned the state’s lack of police resources, claiming that there were only 8, 000 officers on duty in the state, making it difficult to respond quickly in the event of an attack.
As a result of the operations in Zamfara and Kaduna, he said, the security situation had deteriorated recently in the state.
This is more of a national security architecture that would require the deployment of ICT, enhanced equipment and machinery for security personnel, and their own numbers,” the SSG said. We’ll be squandering our time if we don’t.
When the bandits left our community, we’d be told that they were on their way, with about 200 of them on motorcycles, each carrying a passenger or two, and they were headed somewhere.
No security formation with up to 100 members exists in some of these communities.
As a result, they completely engulf that community the moment they arrive.
We were wasting our time going to their camps, I told some people, because these people were mobile and well-spoken.”
In addition to a satellite phone, each of them is equipped with a motorcycle capable of traversing all types of terrain.
Bandits have more than 100 rounds of ammunition in their bags when you give police officers just 4 or 10 rounds of ammunition.”
Bandits have displaced 151,380 people from 30 communities in 14 local government areas in the past two years, according to a report from the SSG.
This figure does not include people who fled to other towns or communities to be with family or who were not identified by the State Emergency Management Agency, according to him.
The SSG reported that 28,987 people were displaced in Rafi Local Government, including children and women; 27,678 in Shiroro; 5,897 in Bosso; 19,712 in Munya; 11,678 in Paikoro; 22,754 in Mariga; 8,913 in Kontagora; 9,98 in Magama; 8,907 in Mashegu; 2,010 in Wushishi; 5,809 in Rijau; 7,809 in Borgu; 3, (2, 789).
That’s why, he said, the state had maintained its security measures to keep out the bandits, and he called for federal assistance to keep up the pressure on them.
Security agencies will continue to be supported by the state government, Matane said.
Even during major security operations, he thanked the federal government for its constant support.