President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday charged Nigerian troops to be ruthless in their operations against criminals in parts of the country, stressing that the activities of kidnappers and other criminals were disgraceful to the nation.
Buhari, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, spoke during an interactive session he had with troops shortly before he left the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport, Katsina, for Abuja.
The troops were deployed to curb the activities of bandits in Zamfara and neighbouring states under Operations Sharan Daji and Diran Mikiya.
The unscheduled interaction was intended to appreciate the activities of the Nigerian Armed Forces whom the president commended for their dedication to the nation.
He applauded the officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force and the Army for the counter-offensive against bandits in Zamfara State and environs and assured them of his support as “a worthy Commander-in-Chief.”
He urged the officers and men to keep up the good work on the results achieved in dealing with banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in the affected states, within the short period of the operation’s existence.
The President said, “I am here and pleased at this opportunity to address you and express my pleasure and happiness as your Commander-in-Chief on your performance on the two respective operations.
“Nigerians are looking up to you to secure the country. What is happening in the areas of operations is disgraceful.
“I’m very pleased with the way officers and men are firmly putting it down and I want you to be as ruthless as possible. Nigerians deserve some peace.”
Buhari reminded the troops that when he was elected into office in 2015, he promised to guarantee security, improved the economy and fight corruption.”
The Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshall Sampson Akpasa, said locations such as Mashema, Shinkafi, Ajia, Rafi, Shamashalle, Zurmi and Galadi in Zamfara State, previously used as base, by the bandits had been made inaccessible to the criminals through sustained air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.
“The air efforts in the last couple of weeks also provided close air support to ground troops on various occasions.
“Additionally, the Air Task Force responded to several distress calls from sister security forces and locals by neutralising the identified massed bandits and preventing imminent attacks on villages/towns such as Yanwari and Hayin Alhaj,” Akpasa said.
In the spirit of the Sallah celebrations, the President donated five bulls to the troops.