Finally, Niger Gov Seeks Airforce to Combat Armed Banditry, Insecurity in the State

The Executive Governor of Niger State, His Excellency Dr Abubakar Sani Bello, has requested for the support of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in tackling issues of armed banditry and kidnapping in the State.

The Governor made the request today, 16 September 2019, while paying a courtesy call on the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in his office at Headquarters NAF Abuja.

The Governor, who attributed the increasing insecurity in the State to the recent influx of armed bandits from the Northwest, stated that about 1,000 villagers had so far been displaced from their homes.

He noted that the bandits have taken advantage of the vast forests in some parts of the State to set up camps, while their mode of operation has changed from armed robbery to cattle rustling and, more recently, to kidnapping.

The Governor, who was accompanied on the visit by the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Livestock and Education, stated further that the bandits had destroyed communities as well as means of livelihood of the people in the State.

While commending the CAS for his consistent support and various contributions towards the security of lives and properties of Nigerians, the Governor reiterated the need for the NAF to deploy some of its air assets for air reconnaissance and other duties to address the dire security situation in the State, especially given the difficult terrain in the affected areas, which impedes ground-based movement of security forces. He added that it would be impossible to return IDPs to their villages without providing them with adequate security.

In his response, the CAS noted that the NAF was not unaware of recent developments in Niger State and had already commenced plans to take necessary action to address the problem. He said the Service, in coordination with other security agencies, would work closely with the Niger State Government to deal with the emerging security challenges in the State. He particularly assured the Governor of NAF’s readiness to deploy additional personnel, along with some air assets, to beef up the existing arrangements at the 013 Quick Response Force (013 QRF) Headquarters in Minna.

Air Marshal Abubakar emphasized that the Service does not require anything from the Government and people of Niger State other than timely intelligence on the activities of the armed bandits and other criminal elements, remarking that all resources required for the conduct of the NAF’s operations had been provided by the Federal Government. He added that the NAF has always been a part of the internal security arrangements in the State and would not relent in its efforts to ensure that relative peace is restored to Niger State and other troubled parts of the country.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force