The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello, on Sunday said the state is in serious crisis level equivalent to a war situation and has to be treated as such.
Mr Bello said this 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,” Mary Noel-Berje, the governor’s spokesperson quoted him as saying, in the statement.
The governor said the state government was still searching and conducting house-to-house headcount to ascertain the exact number of children abducted.
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 ongoing 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, Ms Noel-Berje 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.
“Mr 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.”
The statement said 11 children, who were too small and could not walk, among the kidnapped Islamiyya Students, were released by the gunmen.
Also, the governor said internally displaced persons in Central and Model Primary Schools as well as Government Secondary School in Wushishi have started returning to their communities following return of normalcy to the area.
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