- Niger state is gradually becoming the worst-hit state by armed bandits in Nigeria
- The north-central state has been practically under siege by the well-armed terrorists
- Some local government areas in the state are the worst-hit in a state that has the largest landmass in Nigeria
Armed bandits seem to have overtaken some local government areas in Niger state at the detriment of the residents' safety.
Almost on a daily basis, the bandits overrun communities in these local governments, and worst still, many are not reported by the media, because they are hard-to-reach areas.
Niger state has the largest landmass in Nigeria, making it difficult for the country's overwhelmed security agencies to rescue locals been randomly abducted and killed by the gunmen.
After monitoring months of constant attacks by the bandits, Legit.ng lists the five local government areas in the state most affected by these dare-devil incursions.
1. Munya local government area
Munya is one of the local government areas worst-hit by the bandits. Its headquarters are in the town of Sarkin Pawa in the north of the area near Kaduna state. Its closeness to Kaduna makes it vulnerable to attacks as the armed men can launch assaults on the area and return back to their base in the neighbouring north-west state.
2. Kontagora local government area
Kontagora is a major town on the south bank of the Kontagora river in the north-west area of the state. It is also the capital city of the highly revered Kontagora Emirate but it is now literally a bandits-infested area. The local government has come under attack frequently.
3. Rafi local government area
Perhaps the worst-hit local government in the state. Its headquarters are in the town of Kagara where almost 50 secondary students and their teachers are still held captive by the terrorists. The local government is also close to the southern border of the Kaduna river, an area where the bandits freely access the local government and return back to their base.
4. Shiroro local government area
Known mainly for housing one of Nigeria's key hydroelectric power station, Shiroro is now unfortunately known for its recurrent bandits' attacks. To underscore the severity of the situation, schools in the area have been close by the Niger state government.
5. Mariga local government area
Mariga is the local government area where some mobile policemen were killed in November 2020. To underscore the seriousness of the situation in the area, residents set-up a vigilante group to help wade-off the constant attacks.
Meanwhile, the federal and state governments in Nigeria have recommitted themselves to addressing the mounting insecurity in the country.
At a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday, February 18 presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, the governments agreed to ensure swift investigation, arrest, and prosecution of crime perpetrators.
According to the resolution of the council sent to Legit.ng by Laolu Akande, spokesman of VP Osinbajo, both the federal and state governments agreed that the protection of all residents of all states including non-indigenous communities and religious and ethnic minorities is sacrosanct.
In a related development, the Nigerian Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency across the country with immediate effect.
The demand was part of the Senate’s resolution on Wednesday, February 17 as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.