The Nigerian air force said on Wednesday that it would use all available means to eliminate armed groups that are contributing to the country’s growing lawlessness, citing concerns that the issue, if left unchecked, may affect a nationwide election set for February.
There has been an increase in Islamist insurgents, armed robberies in the northeast and the kidnapping of persons for ransom, and the slaying of villagers in the northwest.
There is concern that militant networks may be spreading to other parts of the country, aside from their northeastern stronghold, after a number of attacks.
Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, head of the Nigerian Air Force, told commanders during a Tuesday meeting that the security situation “remains fluid and uncertain” with armed groups moving between northern states, according to a statement released by NAF on Wednesday.
The statement released by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday said that Air Marshal Oladayo Amao told commanders that the security situation “remained fluid and uncertain” as armed groups moved between northern states.
The military’s response to banditry this year, which was declared terrorism, has been sporadic, partly because its resources are focused on insurgents. Thus, the bandits have been able to operate largely unhindered.
In a late-night statement, President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday that the Nigerian government has given security forces ‘full freedom to handle and terminate this insanity.’
Last weekend, gunmen attacked three northern states, leaving dozens dead. Buhari expressed his condolences after his speech.
The Nigerian police said on Tuesday that it had deployed extra manpower around Abuja in order to beef up security, following local reports of an assault at a checkpoint near the capital.
Security is likely to be a key concern when Nigerians go to the polls in February to select a new president, who is barred from doing so after serving two terms in accordance with the country’s constitution.
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