President, Muhammadu Buhari has urged the media to address the tone, content, and standards of reporting into security and safety measures. This advice, however took place on a day that attacks by bandits at Goronyo in Sokoto recorded 43 deaths.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday, Buhari said the term “rising insecurity” should be replaced with the “reality of declining insecurity.”
The statement was titled, ‘President Buhari Felicitates With Muslims On Eid-el-Maulud, Reassures That Significant Gains Are Being Made In Combating Insecurity.’
It partly read, “The President urges Muslims to strive for forgiveness and closeness to the noble life and teachings of the Prophet (SAW) whose birthday is being marked on this blessed day. On this auspicious occasion, I wish you all the blessings of today.
“The President uses the occasion to give a snapshot of the increased activities the Armed Forces, Police Force, and intelligence agencies have embarked upon to effectively respond to the security challenges in the nation.
“He says the government fully expects and intends for these trends to continue, and calls on the media to address the tone, content, and standards of reporting into security and safety measures. Time has come to revise the prefixes ‘rising insecurity’ with ‘declining insecurity.’
“The President adds that increased cooperation and collaboration from the citizenry, coupled with reinvigorated, dynamic, and energised police, security and military leadership is helping the administration score more victories against terror, criminality, and economic sabotage. The reality of declining insecurity should replace the inaccurate narrative of rising insecurity in the country.”
Shehu quoted Buhari as saying, “While there is work to do, the men and women in uniform who are helping the nation to achieve this goal, desire our collective appreciation and encouragement to do even more. The whole country and its mass communication systems have a duty in this regard.”
The President concluded his message by appealing to road users to drive with care and avoid needless accidents.
However, not less than 43 people lost their lives after an attack by bandits on Goronyo township in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto state
According to a report, the assailants attacked the market in large numbers on Sunday night, shooting sporadically and killing several persons.
In the past two weeks, bandits have launched attacks on a village market in Sokoto.
Earlier this month, at least 19 traders were killed by bandits who raided a weekly market at Unguwan Lalle in the Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
The attack also left several others injured, the majority of whom were taken to the General Hospital, Sabon Birni, for treatment.
Five soldiers who were on a rescue mission in the area were ambushed and killed by bandits a few months ago. A resident had said the attack happened during market hours.
For several weeks, troops have been conducting air and ground operations on bandit camps in neighbouring Zamfara State where authorities have shut down telecoms services to disrupt communication between the gangs.
Bandits fleeing the military operation in Zamfara have set up camps in the Sabon Birni district from where they raid villages.
The influx of bandits from neighbouring Zamfara State prompted authorities in Sokoto to suspend weekly markets and shut down mobile phone services in border areas, including Sabon Birni.
The state governor, Aminu Tambuwal, while making the clarification yesterday maintained that the toll was confirmed after due diligence on figures of those who lost their lives to the market attack that occurred the previous day.
Much earlier, while receiving the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Governor Tambuwal had said the bandits killed about 30 people.
In his words through his Media Adviser, Muhammad Bello, he said “The number of people that died in Goronyo; I did say it was above 30. I was not categorical about the figure.
“We just finished a meeting with some stakeholders and I have confirmed that we lost 43 people, unfortunately to that incident. May God Almighty have mercy on their souls.”
While reemphasizing the pressure on Bandits, Buhari issued a tough warning to bandits, saying their clock of ultimate destruction was ticking and they would no longer have a place to hide.
The media Assistant to the President, Mr. Garba Shehu said, “The days of the bandits are indeed numbered because the military capabilities of our forces are being boosted by the acquisition and deployment of advanced equipment.”
Sokoto, usually referred to as Sokoto State to distinguish it from the city of Sokoto, is located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River.
According to the President, bandits are living in the fool’s paradise of invincibility, but reality will soon dawn on them harder than ever before.
He stressed that the criminals were under desperate pressure because of the intense and sustained air and ground operations against them in their hideouts by the nation’s security forces.
“The cowardly attacks on innocent people by the bandits show a rear-guard action of criminals under pressure,” President Buhari added.
“But they will have no place to hide, and our gallant security forces will not relent in the current offensive to defeat these callous enemies of humanity.”
He appealed to all Nigerians not to despair, saying his administration is more determined to protect Nigerians from murderous criminal gangs that have no respect for the sanctity human of life.
The President also sympathised with the families of the victims and called on the people to continue to be patient as the military strategises on how to crush the bandits.