PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has warned that the waves of protest in Katsina State against rising insecurity in the state can distract the military operations mounted to flush out bandits terrorising the state.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity in a statement reacting to protests in Katsina said the president has approved a joint military and police operation specifically targeted at combing Niger, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states to rid the areas of bandits.
He assured that surveillance will be improved, with more night vision aircrafts already deployed under “Operation Accord’.
“President Buhari admonishes that taking to the streets for protest could distract the military operations, urging” Katsina indigenes not to give up on the military who over the years have a strong track record of quelling crises once given enough time,” the statement read in part.
Hundreds of youth across Katsina State on Tuesday converged on Katsina town to protest the killings and wanton destruction by gunmen in their respective localities.
The peaceful protest, convened by Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) and Citizens Participation Against Corruption Initiative, was flagged off at Kofar Soro and concluded at the old Government House, Katsina.
However, the president has urged calm, promising that the military are fully capable of dealing with the challenges of banditry and terrorism.
“The Presidency assures Nigerians, again, that the nation’s armed forces are fully capable of dealing with the challenges of banditry and terrorism, urging more patience as the military takes appropriate steps to block gaps being exploited to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens,” Shehu said.
“President Buhari appeals to the people of Katsina State to be patient and supportive of the ongoing military operations in the state, while sympathizing with those who are bereaved, injured and lost properties.”
This is in contrast to recent reports pointing that the Nigerian military has faced criticisms for its response to rising insecurity in the country.
Sometime in February, Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, accused Nigeria’s military of failing to protect victims of insurgency, while calling for soldiers to re-establish a base in the epic-centre of terrorism in Nigeria.
“The fact is, we have made several attempts for the Nigerian military to establish their unit in Auno,Borno but nothing was done,” Zulum said.
“As soon as it is 5 o’clock and they closed up the gate, they abandon the people and move over to Maiduguri.”