Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says no fewer than 1,192 citizens of the state have been killed and 3,348 kidnapped by bandits in 2021.
El-Rufai also confirmed that 891 persons were injured and 13,623 animals; rustled between January and December 2021 across the state.
The governor revealed this at the weekly media briefing; organised by the Presidential Communications Team on Thursday, February 24, in Abuja.
He said the state government had so far spent N21 billion on logistics support; to security agencies fighting bandits in the state in the last seven years.
According to him, the activities of bandits in the Northwest zone are far more serious than insurgency in the Northeast part of the country.
He noted that the number of people killed, kidnapped, or injured; as a result of the activities of the bandits in Katsina and Zamfara States was three times more than the affected citizens in Kaduna.
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“I am persuaded that the banditry in the Northwest is far more serious than Boko Haram; both in terms of the numbers of the people affected.
“I have shown you the numbers in Kaduna. I can assure you that the numbers in Zamfara and Katsina are up to three times this; if they are keeping taps. The numbers in Sokoto, Niger, and Kebbi States will be about this.
“We are talking of tens of thousands of people getting killed, getting kidnapped. It is far more serious than Boko Haram.
“The only thing is that these guys don’t occupy territory; they are in the forests and ungoverned spaces.
“So, they do not attract the kind of single-minded attention that Boko Haram does. And because Boko Haram’s ideology is religious, intentionally religious, it elicits more passion; but really, this is a far more serious problem.
“Because, this is a situation largely in which people of about the same ethnicity, same religion are killing each other, stealing each other’s property, creating an industry out of criminality.
“It’s very, very serious and it requires single-minded attention,” El-Rufai stated.
El-Rufai, who stated that the locations of the bandits operating in Kaduna and other neigbouring states are known to the state government, called on relevant security agencies to urgently check the activities of the terrorists.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to provide more sophisticated weapons to security officials to enable them neutralise the bandits and other terror elements across the country.
“Yes, we know where these bandits are, we have the maps. But somebody has to go in and kill them. I can’t do that. If that somebody doesn’t have enough men, doesn’t have enough firepower, doesn’t have the technology, no one is going to commit suicide.
“This is why under this administration, Nigeria’s Governors Forum collaborated with the federal government to take money from the excess crude account to buy super Tocano jets and other armaments to strengthen our defence system,’’ he added.