President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that under no circumstances should bandits and kidnappers be allowed to hold the country to ransom even as he ordered security forces to be ruthless in dealing with criminal elements.
Speaking against the backdrop of latest incidents in Enugu, Zamfara, Adamawa, Katsina and Kaduna States, where bandits and kidnappers ramped up attacks on people, the president said security agencies and communities under threats of bandits’ attacks and kidnappings should be alert and vigilant.
He spoke just as a new report revealed that attacks from herders killed more Nigerians in 2018 than deaths related to the activities of Boko Haram.
A statement issued yesterday by one of his spokesmen, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted the president as challenging security forces and communities to be alert to the unwholesome activities of criminals due to the unpredictability of the security situation and recent reports of heightened violence and kidnappings after a period of relative inactivity.
Buhari warned that the murderous criminals could take advantage of the complacency of the communities and security forces to strike again.
He said: “The bandits should under no circumstances be allowed to hold the country to ransom on account of security loopholes, which they seek to exploit to strike at their victims. The criminals always look for loopholes in our security system in order to remain in business and active, but we shouldn’t give them the space to achieve this diabolical objective by pre-empting them.”
He described complacency as a hidden or unnoticed enemy that should not be taken for granted, as doing so could weaken government strategies.
Buhari noted that the worst hit communities also have a responsibility to help the security agencies with the critically important human intelligence in order to stop the banditry.
“The bandits maintain networks of informants among the communities they attack. By identifying and reporting these informants to the authorities, it would be by far easier to foil the bandits before they reach their intended targets,” he added.
He commended the security agencies for their dedication and sacrifices, while asking them to redouble their efforts and make life uncomfortable for the bandits.
“You should spare no effort in breaking the backbone of these savage mass killers and don’t hesitate to attack them with merciless intensity until they are crushed and ultimately defeated,” the president said.