Cattle rustling: Niger govt presents relief materials to displaced victims

•As police commence air surveillance


The Niger state Government has sent relief materials to the displaced victims of cattle rustling in Pandogari town, Rafi Local Government of the state in order to alleviate their conditions.

Among the items were blankets, mats, bags of rice and maize, soup ingredients such as palm oil, vegetable oil, salt, food seasonings and sugar.

The Director General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) Mallam Ahmed Ibrahim Inga, made the presentation of the items to the Chairman, Rafi Local Government Council, Hon. Gambo Tanko Kagara and five representatives of the displaced victims yesterday.

The NSEMA boss stated further that the deployment of security personnel by the state government to Pandogari town and other troubled spots in parts of the state at the peak of the invasion of the cattle rustlers to Fulani settlements in the council areas had further built confidence of the people.

He however pointed out that the presentation of the relief materials by the state government should not be seen as compensation to the affected people numbering about 2,000 and scattered in about four local government areas like Shiroro, Munya, Rafi and Agwara.

Rather, Inga said, it was a step taken by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to bring succour to the people as well as cushion the effects of the hardship being faced by the displaced victims who also lost hundreds of heads of cattle, goats and sheep to the fleeing cattle rustlers.

In a related development, the police high command in Abuja, in conjunction with the Niger State Police Command, has deployed helicopters in the renewed offensive against cattle rustlers, who staged a comeback into the state through the forests at the borders shared with Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto and Kaduna states.

The command said the deployment was at the instance of the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Kpotun Idris, who it said, was irked by the incessant criminal activities of the bandits in parts of the state in recent times.

The state’s police image maker, DSP Bala Elkana, told newsmen yesterday in Minna that the initiative would give air backing to the 500 ground troops with some Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) earlier deployed by the command to troubled spots across the state.

“The duty of the police aircraft is to embark on air surveillance in the affected forests where the hoodlums are hiding in large numbers with the stolen animals to enable the troops to move in,” he explained.

He said the forests include, Alawa, Birnin Gwari , Pandogari, Kamuku and the game reserves on the border with the affected states.

Metro however learnt that villagers who were displaced by the activities of the rustlers were gradually returning to their deserted communities following heavy police presence in troubled areas.