Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has expressed grief over the high spate of banditry in the Northwest.
El-Rufai told State House correspondents on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that his visit was to find a lasting solution to the problem.
He said, however, that Nigerian security agencies have been doing their best to contain the menace.
“The Sokoto story only hit the headlines just a few days ago, but in Zamfara, in Kaduna, in Niger, in Katsina, this banditry has become a northwestern scourge and we have been battling it with the support of the military.
“We are very grateful to the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army, and in our particular case, even the Navy has been holding fort Southern Kaduna.
“We have been dealing with this issue and our concern now is with the operations in Sokoto and Zamfara.
“Many of the bandits will move to Kaduna; this is part of the reasons I am here, I will be meeting with the Minister of Defense and the Service Chiefs to try to get more military activities, some operations to be strengthened.’’
El-Rufai said that banditry would affect agriculture unless it was dealt with.
He said that the Chief of Air Staff had assured him that whatever was needed to be done to wipe out the bandits and to enable farmers to go to the farm as the rains advanced would be done.
“ We are confident that things will get better. It is most unfortunate that we have had to deal with it in the Northwest in the same way that Boko Haram ravaged the Northeast.
“These bandits are also becoming a serious problem in the northwest, but the problem is being addressed.’’
On COVID-19 pandemic, he said that the state’s team was working very hard not to let the people down as he was very proud of the quality of the people in the team.
He said that when he was isolated for 26 days, the business of government in Kaduna State did not stop.
The governor said he was proud of the deputy governor and the work that she had done with the team.
He said that the situation was the same all over the country as all the states are all dealing with a very difficult situation.
“The economy is going to go into depression; there is nothing we can do about that; revenues have collapsed, yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities.
“You have to invest in treatment; you have to invest in security and so on.
“So, it is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and for the Almighty God to end this pandemic.
“It is a major problem, but we are working together; we are a resilient nation and I am sure we will overcome,’’ he said.