By Nnamdi Ojiego and Johnbosco Agbakwuru
No fewer than 84 people have been killed by suspected bandits in the last two weeks across the country.
Worst hit are Kaduna and Xamfara States. The situation forced President Muhammadu Buhari to express sorrow.
For some time now, Nigeria has been a hotbed of conflicts. Apart from the perennial conflict between the farmers and herdsmen, there are other notable security challenges, including one posed by bandits.
Recently, in the North-West, particularly Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna and Kebbi States, the activities of bandits have been particularly alarming.
READ ALSO: ‘Buhari has done well for Nigerians’
The activities of the bandits’ range from kidnapping to murder, robbery, rape, cattle-rustling and the likes. Their modus operandi involves maiming and killing victims with little or no provocations.
For example, on Thursday, 42 people were massacred by bandits in five communities of Faru District in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
June 21, A state lawmaker, Muhammad Ahmad, killed by gunmen in Zamfara
July 4, Kaduna State Government reveals that about seven people were killed by suspected bandits in Chikun, Kajuru and Giwa Local Government Areas of the state.
July 5, Suspected bandits kill at least 19 people in an attack on Tsauwa village, Katsina State.
July 6, Bandits kill seven soldiers, injure five others after ambushing troops of the Forward Operational Base and that of the Special Operational Command operating in Kebbi.
July 8, Bandits kill 42 people in five communities of Faru District in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara
July 8, Nigerian Navy man, Bilal Mohammed, Nigerian Army Private Salisu Rabiu killed by bandits while defending students of Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who were abducted by bandits.
July 8, Bandits kill two personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, at Kadobe checkpoint along Jibia Road in Katsina State.
July 9, Six reportedly killed as bandits attack another Zamfara community.
Speaking on the Kaduna and Zamfara situation yesterday, Buhari expressed sorrow over the loss of lives.
The President, who condemned repeated bandit killings in the two states, urged security agencies to do everything possible to prevent the recurrence of attacks with impunity.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja, he also urged the nation’s military to respond to the worrying situation in a language that the bandits understand.
According to him, the military and other security agencies were now working on new methods and policies that are yielding good results in many of the troubled parts of the country and calls for a crushing response to the killing of innocent citizens in the rural communities.
Buhari added that the nation, its military and the entire population need to summon the courage required to defeat the bandits and terrorists.
He condemned some politicians making utterances on security, merely seeking applause, advising them to join the ongoing genuine efforts aimed at finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the nation.