The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has ordered the deployment of fighter jets against kidnappers, bandits and cattle rustlers said to be terrorising communities in Niger State.
The communities are situated around the Dogon Gona forest, which serves as a hideout for the attackers.
The forest stretches from Niger through Kaduna to Zamfara states, according to a State House statement by Buhari’s spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, on Sunday.
The Presidency observed that the attackers had claimed many lives, saying Buhari saw the development as “a disaster for the nation.”
It added that the deployment of air power was to assist the police and troops to contain the bandits.
“In line with this directive, the Nigerian Air Force is setting up refuelling facilities in Minna, Niger State, to support the aircraft operations, giving assurances that given the improved weather conditions, a major exercise to ‘visually acquire targets and launch attacks will soon follow,” it said.
The Presidency stated further that the Niger State Police Command also supported the air power because of the difficult terrain of the affected areas that did not allow for easy access by ground operations.
“The police command in Niger State has equally given assurances that the planned dedicated air raids to complement the police helicopter gun ship operations remain the best approach given the lack of motorised roads in the areas constantly under attack,” the statement added.