Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has enjoined Christians and Muslims in the state to pray and ask God for intervention on the lingering security challenges bedevilling the state, adding that over 10,000 persons have so far been displaced, while several others were killed.
Speaking to newsmen on Saturday shortly after a special prayer session held by the state government at the Minna Central Mosque, Governor Sani Bello said: “The government has put in place a robust action plan that will completely eradicate activities of armed bandits in parts of the state.
According to him, “we have put in place all necessary measures at the moment to address the situation as far as security is concerned.
“They (bandits) have rendered over 10,000 persons, which included women, underaged children and male adults to be Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their camps, and today we call for special prayers against these bandits and to seek Allah’s guidance and protection from these people.
Also, we hope that God will penetrate their hearts to stop these ungodly and criminal activities before it is too late.
“I believe, and I strongly feel, it will soon be too late for them, because we are putting in place a robust action plan that will completely eradicate such activities and when the time comes, we will not hesitate to take necessary,” he maintained
Speaking on what informed the prayers, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said: “It was because, recently and very unusual, we have been confronted with a lot of security challenges from unknown armed bandits from wherever they are.
“It is not part of our culture here, Niger state has been very quiet and peaceful in spite of our diversity. In recent times, they (bandits) have been very inhumane in their activities. They have killed innocent civilians, killed security men, killed registered volunteer vigilante groups, and they have also killed women and their children and virtually anything that moves around.”
He, however, called on Christians and Muslim Ummahs to pray for the state in particular and Nigeria in general.
Speaking earlier, Secretary of the Niger State Imam’s Forum and Chief Imam of Bosso Mosque, Alhaji Umar Faruk, charged all Muslim Ummahs across the state to pray to God to help avert the calamity that has befallen the state and nation at large.
According to him “we are running to God for help because these challenges are more than us and we believe Almighty Allah can help us. And, if we have offended God in any way, we ask for his forgiveness.
“We also pray that God will continue to protect and help security operatives as they thrive to safeguard our lives and properties.
“As we are praying here in Minna emirate, prayers are also ongoing concurrently in the other seven Emirates of Bida, Suleja, Kagara, Kotangora, Borgu, Lapai and Agaie as directed by the state government.”
The special prayer session was led by the Chief Imam of Central Mosque, Minna, Alhaji Ibrahim Isah Fari at about 10:30 am with Muslim Ummahs drawn from the six Local Government Areas in Minna Emirate.
Christians according to the governor will pray concurrently on Sunday.
Presence at the occasion was creme of the society led by the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouq Bahago, Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Metane Chief of Staff, Alhaji Ibrahim and representatives of different security agencies as well as other politicians.