The Federal Government on Sunday said it had assembled a strong military force comprising 1,000 personnel, to tackle the bandits terrorizing communities in Zamfara.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Malam Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement in Abuja, and said that personnel in the squad were drawn from the Army, Air Force, Police and the Civil Defence.
Shehu said that the formation of the Force was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the Nigerian Air Force has begun the deployment of fighter aircraft to Katsina, the airport with the closest proximity to Zamfara, to make for immediate and effective response to the menace of the bandits.
“This had not been possible in the past because there was no fuel depot in Katsina, but NAF has devised a way around the problem,’’ he said.
Shehu disclosed that the President had also authorised the engagement by NAF, of advanced satellite surveillance technology to help in accurate detection of movement and locations of the bandits.
He said: “the government had to go to this extent because of the limitations of conventional surveillance as the use of satellite technology could make the task of NAF less problematic.
“Following directives from the President, at the weekend, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, was in Gusau where he met the Deputy Governor of the State.’’
The president’s aide said that while in Gusau, Abubakar reiterated the Buhari’s pledge that he would never abandon victims of attacks to their fate.
“He also reaffirmed that security remained 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.”
Shehu recalled that since his election, the president had kept faith with his promises to re-equip and motivate the country’s military and other security services.
He also observed that “the army and other security services are now better equipped and motivated to face the challenges of their responsibilities”.
Shehu, therefore, appealed to 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.
“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,’’ he stated.
According to Shehu, terrorists seek to achieve maximum publicity and they do so by launching large-scale attacks on soft targets.
He advised the media to always resist every attempt to play into the hands of the terrorists unwittingly.