The lawmaker representing Shanga/ taurine/ Ngaski Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, Hon. Yusuf Tanko Sununu has lamented the growing wave of banditry and kidnappings in his area, saying Thursday's kidnapping of scores of students of the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri simply captures how fearless bandits have becomes.
He said that the bandits gave notice of their attack and eventually executed their plan with impunity as they overpowered policemen before abducting the students. Sununu lamented that Thursday's operation was the third incident in two weeks in the area, regretting that farmers can no longer go to farms and that education was being badly affected.
Sununu disclosed this during a breakfast television show monitored in Abuja on Friday.
He said; "It is rather very unfortunate that the security of lives and property, the welfare of the average Nigerian which is the constitutional basis for existence of government is being compromised.
What really happened was that two weeks ago we had an episode where bandits residing in the areas bordering Zamfara, Niger and then Kebbi came to one of the villages in my constituency, killed a police man and then found their way until they reached around Ibeto where we have a quarry, killed some security men and kidnapped some Chinese people.
"Ten days after they came to the same area and operated for more than seven hours, moving from house to house, room to room, collecting handsets and cows and machines and they left behind a message that they will soon be coming back. To fulfill their promises, yesterday, we had intelligence that they were in their way coming and they started around 10:30am and reached their final destination at Federal Government College Birnin Yauri.
Even though it wasn't an easy task, the Mobile police engaged them according to the PPRO and the Counter Terrorism Unit stationed at the gate of the school also engaged them and they, after a long period of exchanging fire, they unfortunately overpowered the police because according to eyewitnesses, the bandits were more than 200 on motorcycles.
"They succeeded in killing one of the policemen and they got access to the school and abducted an unspecified number of students and five teachers. The number of students cannot yet be ascertained because immediately after the bandits left, parents from nearby villages came and took their wards away and that made it very difficult to know the actual number of those abducted".
The lawmaker however added that security forces have been able to track the location of the kidnappers.
He said; "One good thing about it is that we have made a lot of contacts. As of last night and this morning, I had a discussion with the field commander of Operation Hadarin Daji that they have succeeded in entering into the den of the kidnappers and I think this is a major success because the agencies are now taking the fight to the base of the kidnappers. In fact over 800 cattle that were rustled some days back were recovered. There is also a lot of casualties on the part of the insurgents.
"Yauri is now facing an influx of IDPs. The schools are virtually closed down for fear of abductions and this will cause a lot of problems to the Emirates as far as education is concerned. Also we are in the rainy season, when our farmers are supposed to engage in farming but this has now been interfered with.
"Before this happened, we had communicated to the security and I think they took their time to do surveillance and it was that surveillance that gave them much knowledge about the access routes being used by the bandits because they have a common route through the villages. This is why I think we should also respect local intelligence.
"As a sovereign nation we have an advantage over criminals. It is only the state that controls the airspace and we can utilize the airspace to tackle these elements so that the ground forces can go in and do the needful. We are in a serious crisis. The economy has nosedived and access to food is a serious issue because people cannot go to the farms or markets.
"The thick forest in Yauri is very important. If you push the bandits from Zamfara, they will come to that forest. If you push them from Niger, they will come to that forest too.
That is a very loose area that we must take care of because from there they can enter into Yauri and you can imagine 300 armed men coming into a local government headquarters. You know nothing can be done to challenge them. So, this is the time to weaken them and let the military remain in the areas they have taken from them so that those bandits cannot regroup there again", he added.