Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, has decried the continued killings in the northwest zone, particularly the recent attack in Zamfara State that left over 200 people dead, and has urged the federal government to beef up security in the region to prevent further deaths.
In a similar vein, Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, has described the recent bandit killings in Zamfara as “horrific.”
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In a related development, Major General Abdulwahab Eyitayo, the acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, has hinted that the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has always offered logistics and other support to the Nigerian Army in the ongoing war against Boko Haram insurgents without being asked by military authorities.
After killing over 200 people, over 500 fleeing bandits on motorcycles reportedly attacked five villages and razed their homes.
“I expect that security be ramped up to stem this waste of precious human lives,” Atiku said in a statement in response to the development.
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“When I expressed my deepest condolences to the people and government of Zamfara State on the 6th of January over the senseless killing of innocent citizens in the state’s Bukkuyum and Anka Local Government Areas, little did I know that the tragedy that befell the people was far worse than anticipated,” the former vice president explained.
“It is a traumatic experience to imagine,” he said, lamenting the deaths of dozens of innocent citizens in a single day. Even as I sympathise with those in the affected families and communities as they bury their loved ones, I expect security to be increased to prevent the waste of precious human lives.”
In a statement, Farouq described the atrocity that followed the invasion of five communities and the deaths of over 200 people in the state’s Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas as “horrific and tragic.”
Due to the bandit invasion, over 200 people were buried today (Saturday). We are saddened by the continuous invasion and killings by bandits, and we are concerned about the displaced persons, particularly women and children, who are fleeing in large numbers from their communities.
“We express our sympathies to the government and people of Zamfara State during this difficult time, as well as our condolences to the families of the deceased.” We pray for their souls’ repose and the restoration of peace to the state as soon as possible,” she said.
She did, however, order that relief materials be sent to the state’s Internally Displaced Persons to help them cope with the sudden displacement.
According to reports, more than 10,000 people were displaced after the bandits razed their homes, and scores more were still missing.
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Meanwhile, Eyitayo waxed lyrical about Zulum yesterday, saying that his support had gone a long way toward bolstering the military operation in the Northeast.
Eyitayo said the governor had always come to their aid during Zulum’s visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian Army’s 7th Division in Maiduguri during a social gathering organised by the army to celebrate the acting GOC’s recent promotion to the rank of Major General.
“On several occasions, without being asked, you (Governor Zulum) have come to our aid to provide logistical support to us (the army).” You have, in one way or another, turned the soldiers’ spirits into fighting machines, thanks to your perseverance and unwavering cooperation and assistance,” he said.
As a result, the GOC asked Zulum to express his officers’ gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff for identifying and promoting deserving soldiers involved in the fight against Boko Haram in Borno State, which he described as “extremely encouraging.”
In response, Zulum congratulated the acting GOC and other recently promoted military officers, saying that the people of Borno were enjoying the good times.
Even though he described military and other security personnel’s duties as difficult, the governor said they deserve to be supported and encouraged, citing the need for not only state support, but also increases in their entitlements when the economy permits such considerations by the federal government.
Zulum credited his administration’s numerous efforts to the military’s peace-building role, which he claimed had resulted in the safe resettlement of approximately 18 communities across Borno.
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More communities would be safely resettled with continued peace-building, he said, and some major roads, such as the Maiduguri-Damboa road, would be opened for motorists’ safe use.
Commissioners of Agriculture, Bukar Talba; Sports and Youth Empowerment, Sainna Buba; and Transportation, Abubakar Tijjani, accompanied Zulum to the function.