Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has stated that the armed bandits terrorizing the state and some of the surrounding states in the North West have more sophisticated equipment than the Nigerian military.
Yari has made this known while briefing State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, said in a meeting the state government team including the military had with the miscreants, it was discovered that the bandits have over 500 AK 47 assault rifles in their position.
According to Yari, who is Chairman of the Nigeria’s Governors Forum, NGF, the meeting was to dialogue with the bandits for them to lay down their arms, but regretted that no meaningful achievement was recorded.
He said: “Well, I think it is not just state by state matter but a regional problem. Because, we are surrounded by forests. We have Kuyambana to Rugu down to Maradi Republic.
“The bandits are taking advantage of the fact that we are living like an Island because we are surrounded by forests from Sokoto we have Basuguma around, in Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Niger, we have Kuyambana Dansado forest there, in Katsina, we have Rugu and at South East of Zamfara where we have Maradi, we have forest there.
“So as the governor of Katsina said, we have to collaborate. I know our security chiefs meet quarterly to review their performance, the gain and the loss, the same thing goes for our brothers in Maladi.
“I think the operations need to be carried out simultaneously because the issue is we are surrounded by a forest. The point is, when Katsina puts pressure on the bandits they will run into the forest in Zamfara, if Zamfara puts pressure on them, then they will move to Minna or Birnin Gwari. So this is the issue, so there is need for collaboration.
“So the soldiers need to be equipped with the equipment that can stand the test of time. Yesterday (Monday), when we were having our security meeting, we could understand the constraints of the security personnel that are on ground there.
“We are definitely going to collaborate, especially since I am running on the last lap of my full tenure, I will ensure that in these months that are left, we will leave behind a peaceful state for the new administration that is coming in.
“The federal government has already given procurement contracts, inter-government transaction to the United States, China and other European countries. Recall that in 2018, the Nigeria Governors Forum, approved $1 billion to support the federal government’s effort in equipping the security agencies.
“We believe the equipment will soon come into the country and it is our hope that the equipment will be used so that this worrisome situation that we are will become history.
“Well, I have told my people that that will no longer take place during my time because, I have done that three times but it did not work. This is in the sense that we know their capacity.
“For instance, during the first dialogue, they invited some of our team, army, DSS, police and my chief security officer as well as some traditional rulers representatives and we have seen what they have.
“They are in control of the kind of weapons that the Command In Zamfara State does not have. In one armory alone, they have over 500 AK47, we saw it. Our people were even given chance to take pictures.
“But when we said we will dialogue, offer amnesty, that they should surrender their arms, I can tell you till date we did not get up to 90 AK47, so it is a deceit. That is why I said no more dialogue during my tenure.
“During dry season they will look for dialogue because they know the security can gain access to anywhere in the forest and they have no place to hide. But when the rainy season comes and the forest becomes thicker, they will return to their normal practice.
“That is why I said there has to be show of force before anything else. I know that in any war, eventually you have to come to the table and dialogue but the situation we are right now sincerely speaking, dialogue is not needed at this point in time.”