Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Defence, has alleged that some traditional rulers are aiding armed bandits to carry out criminal activities in Zamfara State.
Dan-Ali made this allegation in a statement signed by Col. Tukur Gusau, his Public Relations Officer, on Tuesday.
According to the minister, while the Federal Government is working hard to effectively tackle the security crisis in the state, its efforts is, however, been sabotaged by some of the traditional rulers, whom he alleged divulged intelligence information to the bandits.
The statement read: “The ministry is very concerned about the security challenges in the North-West region and particularly, in states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna states.
“Due to the recent prevailing security situation in the states, the army is already conducting Exercise Harbin Kunama IV in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto States.
“The purpose of the exercise is to effectively flush out the activities of criminal elements in the North-West. The Nigerian Air Force has also intensified air strikes against the bandits in Zamfara. So far, the combined efforts have yielded to lot of successes leading to the killing of many bandits, rescue of many persons including a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Suleiman.
“The government is also addressing the remote and immediate causes that gave room to high spate of banditry in the states. Recently the government acted on the advice of the Ministry of Defence to suspend all mining activities in Zamfara State and environs following intelligence report that suggested close collaboration between the activities of the bandits and illegal miners.
“However, in spite of the concerted efforts of the armed forces and other security, some unpatriotic persons including highly placed traditional rulers in the areas were identified as helping the bandits with intelligence to perpetuate their nefarious actions or to compromise military operations.”
Dan-Ali warned that the country’s military and security agencies would not hesitate to legally deal with any individual who aids criminals to perpetuate criminal activities in Zamfara and other states in the country.
“The Ministry of Defence, therefore, wishes to warn any person or group of persons who choose to connive or sympathise with the bandits to perpetuate crime against the law-abiding citizens to hence force retract their steps or face the full wrath of the law,” the statement read.