No fewer than 323 people were killed by bandits in Kaduna State between January and March 2021, the State Government has said.
The data was contained in a security report by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, at the State Security Council meeting.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai presided over the meeting held on Friday at the Government House in Kaduna, the state capital.
Presenting the first quarter security report to the council, Aruwan explained that of the 323 people killed by bandits during the period under review, 292 were male and 20 were female.
He added that a total of 949 people were kidnapped by bandits during the period, while Kaduna Central Senatorial District accounted for 236 deaths within Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Igabi, and Kajuru Local Government Areas.
Aruwan told the council that some successes were recorded on the part of the security forces, including the killing of hundreds of bandits and recovery of many weapons.
In his opening remark, El-Rufai decried the spate of kidnapping and banditry in Kaduna State, which he said was taking an alarming proportion.
He was worried that the situation was already getting out of hand and called for urgent measures to stem the tide of insecurity in the state.
The governor also raised an alarm that the bandits operating in the state were inching closer from rural communities to the cities, where they have attacked innocent citizens in recent times with utmost boldness.
According to him, there is a need to allay the sense of fear and lack of confidence in security agencies through prompt operations to restore security in Kaduna.
The Commissioner of Police in Kaduna, Umar Muri, and Commandant of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Uche Iyke, also briefed the council.
Both men stressed the need to secure schools from further attacks and tackle the menace of drug addiction and trafficking which were identified as factors contributing to banditry.
The meeting afforded members the opportunity to review the security situation in the state and make inputs that would help in reviewing the government’s operational strategies.
Those in attendance were heads of various security agencies in the states, the commissioners of education and local governments, as well as traditional rulers, among others.
Kaduna, like other states in the country, is still grappling with the challenges of banditry and kidnapping which have claimed many lives with socioeconomic activities threatened.
A recent wave of deadly attacks in some parts of the state has created tension and anxiety among the citizens and even the government.
This fear has been further compounded by the focus on schools as targets of attacks by the bandits in recent times, a trend that has been condemned by many individuals and groups in Kaduna and other states.
Among the recent attacks were the abduction of 23 students of Greenfield University – a private tertiary institution in Chikun Local Government Area, and the subsequent killing of five of the students.
This was preceded by the kidnapping of 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Igabi Local Government Area of the state.
While 10 of the abducted students have regained their freedom, the fate of the remaining 29 others is still not known.
Despite the recent attacks, Governor El-Rufai is optimistic that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, with strong collaboration of all stakeholders in defeating the common enemies of the state.