President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed surprise at the current surge in insecurity across the country.
Buhari spoke at the State House, Abuja, while receiving a delegation of eminent and respected citizens of Niger State led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.
The President said “harder times” await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
He said the activities of the bandits have forced many to abandon their farms and homes, stressing that “we will now be harder on them.”
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion; rather it is one evil plan against the country.
“We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly,” he said in a statement issued today by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
President Buhari noted that the discovery of oil and gas reserves in Chad Basin, Benue trough and Bida, and some parts of Bauchi and Gombe, will further bolster current efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
A former Governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida, who spoke for the group, said activities of bandits have rendered many homeless, while others could no longer go the farms.
He thanked the President for taking a more decisive action by directing aerial bombardment by the military.
Also speaking, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, assured President Buhari of continuous support, and prayed to God to give him strength and wisdom to handle the affairs of the country.