President Muhammadu Buhari has described himself as one of the unhappiest leaders in the world.
He said this on Saturday in reaction to the reported incidents of banditry and kidnappings in Zamfara State and some parts of the country.
“How can I be happy and indifferent to the senseless killings of my fellow citizens by bandits?” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
He added, “I am human, and I understand the pains of the victims and their families who have been traumatised and impoverished by constant ransom demands by bandits.”
President Buhari, however, reassured Nigerians that ending banditry remained a key priority of his administration.
He promised to do whatever it takes to ensure the country’s security system confronts the criminals with merciless determination.
The President condoled with all those affected by the unfortunate events and faulted those who he said were politicising such incidents.
He said, “The politicisation of tragedy reveals the darkest sides of our primitive politics. Almost every week, I summon my security chiefs to get an update on the strategies being devised to defeat these mass murderers.
“There is no issue that dominates my mind every 24 hours like security because, as an elected President, protecting the citizens of my country is one of the primary functions of my administration.”
Highlighting other efforts to tackle insecurity in the country, President Buhari said, “I constantly listen to our security personnel in order to understand their problems and needs, and I have never hesitated to attend to those needs in terms of motivating and equipping them to respond effectively to our security challenges.”
“It is, therefore, ridiculous to suggest that I am indifferent to these killings. I have ordered rapid and robust deployment of troops to all the areas currently under attack from bandits and we are determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and utterly defeated,” he added.
The President, however, called on communities affected by banditry to support and cooperate with the security agencies, particularly the recently launched Operation Puff Adder to battle the criminals.
He said it was regrettable that bandits have informants within some communities and utterly reprehensible that certain communities have signed protection deals with bandits at the expense of other communities, thereby creating complications and frustrating government’s intervention.
He appealed to communities to report suspicious movements of bandits into their areas within the shortest available opportunity, saying intelligence was critical to defeating the criminals.