The Federal Government has assembled a 1000-strong military force to launch fierce attacks on the bandits terrorising the villages and towns of Zamfara State.
According to a statement on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, this followed the directives by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The force is made up of men of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Shehu disclosed that the Air Force has begun the deployment of fighter aircraft to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara to ensure immediate and effective response to the menace of the bandits.
He said that this had not been possible in the past because of the absence of a fuel depot facility in Katsina, although the force has now devised a way around the problem.
Also, President Buhari has authorised the engagement by the Air Force, of advanced satellite surveillance technology to help in accurate detection of movement and locations of the bandits.
The Presidency explained that the government had to go to such extent because of the limitations of conventional surveillance, as the use of satellite technology can make the task of the Air Force less problematic.
The statement said, “Following directives from the President, at the weekend, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, was in Gusau where he met the Deputy Governor of the state.
“The Chief of Air Staff reiterated the President’s pledge that he would never abandon victims of attacks to their fate, reaffirming that security remains one of the cardinal pillars of his campaign promises and no leader would be happy to see his own citizens killed by criminal groups across the country.”
They recalled that since the President Buhari’s election in 2015, he has kept faith with his promises to re-equip and motivate the country’s military and other security services.
The Presidency noted that the Army and other security agencies have also been better equipped and motivated to face the challenges of their responsibilities.
They, therefore, called on all Nigerians to unite and speak with one voice on security issues and urged politicians to stop exploiting national security challenges.
“Those praying for the President to fail in this effort can be likened to one stabbing oneself in the heart and celebrating about it.
“In this regard, security should not be reduced to petty politics as doing so could only embolden the terrorists and other murderous gangs,” the statement added.
“We therefore appeal to members of the Nigerian media to avoid unhelpful and deleterious sensationalism in the coverage of events that border on national security. The media should under no circumstances make the bandits or terrorists feel like super stars because doing so could hurt all of us,” the statement said.
“Terrorists seek to achieve maximum publicity and they do so by launching large scale attacks on soft targets and the media must resist every attempt to play into their hands unwittingly,” the statement added.