Senator Ibrahim Gobir, the representative of Sokoto East in the Senate, has claimed some parts of his constituency are under the control of bandits.
In an interview, Gobir, who lamented that criminal gangs had sacked traditional and political institutions in most villages and towns in the area, claimed government forces told his people they could not protect them from the bandits because the hoodlums had better weapons.
According to the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker, those whose villages are not too far from the border between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger are a bit safe because they are usually protected by Nigerien soldiers.
The legislator said, “Our biggest problem now is that the bandits have taken over many villages and are having a field day.
“They have constituted themselves as judges. They have sacked the traditional and political institutions there, so there are no judges at all.
“The bandits now settle disputes between people. They resolve quarrels between husband and wife and so on.”
He said the situation in his area was quite lamentable because they had been talking to the Federal Government and sending the resolutions of their meetings but the government had not come to their aid.
He added, “If you look at the situation in that area, there is no farming because if the bandits find you on the farm, they will shoot you.
“If you sell a cow, the following day or at night, someone will come and collect the money.
“They sometimes surround a whole town or village and kill as many as they can and then take away whatever they want and burn the whole place.
“There was even a time bandits stormed our area and our people ran away into the bush. The bandits still pursued them and set the bush on fire and killed all our people there.”
He decried the situation, saying they had had to rely on Nigerien army.
He added, “They come to our aid because they have some soldiers around border towns not too far from some of our villages. They are the people that we now depend on to help us.
“The Nigerian Army is not helping us. We are really having challenges in that area. If we call the Nigerian Army to come to our aid, they will come but they will not go after the bandits.
“They will complain that the weapons being used by the bandits are more sophisticated than theirs.
“This is the problem that we are facing. We have discussed; they said they would come to our aid and make sure that our people are rescued but we haven’t seen any improvement.”
Gobir, whose efforts made the Senate to include Sokoto among the states troops should invade and chase away bandits, however, doubted the impact of the resolution.
He said, “We are not sure that the Senate resolution would make much impact because this is just one of the resolutions we have been passing and nothing has come out.
“As a citizen of this country, a situation where my people will be sleeping and someone will just knock on their door and command them to surrender whatever they have is a problem.
“They would seize their wives or children and then kill the breadwinner. It is really pathetic.”