President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has decried the reoccurring killings and kidnappings orchestrated by bandits. The president, as a result, has directed the Nigerian Air Force to deploy its fighter aircraft in checking the menace.
He gave the directives in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday.
In the statement, Mr President described the repeated attacks as “a disaster for the nation” and that it has led to the loss of several lives in the affected communities.
Subsequently, President Buhari approved the deployment of air power to support Military troops and policemen deployed to the “difficult terrain,” in bid to counter the threat of the attackers who have been operating in the forest area bordering Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states.
According to the presidential aide, Malam Garba Shehu, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is setting up a refuelling facilities at Minna, Niger state, to support the air operations which is about to commence fully.
Shehu added that military authorities have assured the president that given the improving weather conditions, a major exercise to visually obtain their targets in the forests and launch attacks would soon commence.
”President Buhari has received assurances that with the harmattan dust gradually easing its hold on the skies, fighter aircraft would this week join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers that have been attacking remote communities around Dogon Gona forest in Niger State.
”The planned dedicated air raids with the police helicopter gunship operations remain the best approach given the lack of motorized roads in the areas constantly under attack.”
President Buhari also offered his condolences to the government and people of Niger State over the attacks and loss of lives while assuring the affected communities that they would not be abandoned by the rest of the country.