Not fewer than three persons have been killed and 15 women abducted in an attack by bandits in some communities in Munya and Paikoro local government areas of Niger State Sunday morning.
According to reports, the communities invaded by the bandits include Beni, old and new Dalolo, Aboloso, Ishau and Amale communities in Paikoro local government while in Munya local government area, the communities include Gwari Nyayi, Kabiri and Biri.
Three Feared Dead, 15 women abducted in Niger
Two vigilantes and a middle-aged man identified as Francis Daniel were shot dead.
It was learnt that the bandits numbering over 200 invaded the communities in over 50 motorcycles in three groups.
District Head of Beni, Alhaji Jafaru Umar Sarki said the attacks began on Saturday evening and lasted for an hour with the bandits looting shops and houses for foodstuff.
He said that the bandits returned in Sunday morning and moved from one community to another, targeting only foodstuff and provisions from shops.
Sarki also said that the 15 women abducted were made to carry the foodstuff looted from the communities for the bandits, saying that the bandits promised to release the women when they got to a particular location. Due to the spate of banditry in the state, the Federal Medical Centre Zungeru is said now rejects patients and medical interns due to the increased spate of banditry and kidnapping in the area.
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The traditional leader of Zungeru, Dagacin Zungeru, Major General Usman Mohammed disclosed this when Raise Foundation under its Women-led Integrated Protection Against Gender-Based Violence (WIPe-GBV) project in collaboration with Action Aid and the British Council paid him an advocacy visit to push for the end of gender-based violence in the state.
He said that the hospital is at the state of being abandoned as no one sleeps in the hospital anymore adding that even at night, the staff leave the hospital due to fear of being attacked.
“We have been entertaining fear in our minds with the issue of banditry. Because of the banditry in the area, no one sleeps at the hospital anymore. In a situation of life and death, no one is there to attend to patients.
“It is unfortunate to go to a hospital and meet it vacant. If you go at night, you will shed tears. Because of this insecurity issue, they now reject patients, no matter the state the person is brought in.
“When students came for their practicals, they were rejected due to the fear of banditry. Doctors and nurses do not spend the night at the facility.”
The traditional leader appealed to the state and the federal government to pay attention to renovating the hospital and providing adequate security forces to the hospital and the community.
He said that he has been seeing messages to the Commissioner of Health but he has not gotten any reply saying he was using the medium of the visit of Raise Foundation to appeal once again.
He pointed out that the federal medical centre Zungeru can be a reference health centre for Niger East and Niger North Senatorial districts if adequate attention is given to it.
“We can say that Zungeru is the forgotten capital of northern Nigeria. We have the oldest FMC in Zungeru but it has been abandoned.
“We have met with the chairman committee in-hospital services several times even the Commissioner has been met but nothing has been done about it. By law and by right, a hospital should be a way of generating revenue but the government is doing nothing about it. It is too sad.”
The Traditional Leader further appealed to the government to provide the community with additional security to help the local security to be able to combat the bandits and kidnappers in the area.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has declared that informants are more dangerous than bandits and should be given the same punishments as bandits and kidnappers when they are caught.
Just as he advocated for stiffer penalties for those involved in kidnapping and banditry.
Speaking after the swearing-in of the new Chief Judge of the state, Justice Aisha Bwari at the council chamber in government house, Bello said that without the informants, the bandits will not be able to carry out their activities.
“It has come to our notice that most of these heinous crimes are being executed by members of the communities, in most cases, they are the ones that invite the bandits. I am seriously suggesting that kidnappers, bandits and informants should have the same punishments.
“Without informants, banditry activities will become extremely difficult. In my opinion, the informants are more dangers than bandits. They have deprived people of their livelihood and at the same time, they have deprived people of their lives.”
He urged the Judiciary and Legislature to come up with stiffer penalties for those involved in these activities especially the informants insisting that an example need to be set for those involved in this activities.
“A time has come for us to have stiffer measures. I will meet up with the state Assembly on the steps to take to ensure this and I hope the judiciary will execute whatever amendment is made.”
The Governor expressed worry and concern over the increasing spate of armed bandits in the state which has claimed hundreds of lives and rendered thousands homeless.
The new Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Aisha Bwari pledged that there would be a transformation in the judiciary saying that all hands would be on deck to ensure transformation.
She also assured that the judiciary will work in tandem with the executive and legislature to execute laws for the good of the state.