The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, declare bandits as terrorists and wage a total war against them.
The lawmakers also urged the president to immediately declare all known leadership of the bandits wanted, and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.
They asked Mr Buhari to order the military “to eliminate them by bombing their hideouts.”
These are some of the resolutions taken by lawmakers on Wednesday after a deliberation on a motion on the activities of bandits in Sokoto State – sponsored by Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East).
His motion comes barely a day after bandits killed at least 20 people and abducted others in Gatawa, a village in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of the state.
The community was considered to be one of the few secure villages in the state where bandits have been very active.
The attack also came barely 24 hours after another one in Gangara, in the same local government area.
Mr Gobir, in his motion, complained that his senatorial district has now become a haven for bandits, following a crackdown on them by the military in Zamfara State while he made reference to Tuesday’s attack.
“This has gone to portray the seriousness of the problem which require concerted and urgent action by the declaration of total war on banditry.
“Losing such numbers of trained security personnel will further deplete the numerical strength of the security personnel we have in the country, therefore jeopardising the security architecture of the country.
“Most of the bandits have now relocated to Sabon Bimini and Isa local Government due to the sustained military operation at the Zamfara axis,” he said.
The lawmaker said while the crackdown on the bandits was taking place in Zamfara State, “no concrete measures have so far been taken in Sokoto State, leaving it totally exposed to the activities of bandits”.
The present military onslaught on the bandits, he said, is not well co-ordinated because it is only being orchestrated in Zamfara State, instead of all the frontline states ravaged by bandits.
He called on the military to carry out operations on frontline states such as Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna in order to produce effective and the desired results.
On her part, Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra), said focus should not be on the South-east region alone.
She also said it is time for the president to address the nation on the state of insecurity in the country “as his silence has been discouraging”.
While the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, commended the efforts of the armed forces in the sustained fight against insecurity in the country, he called for increased funding for the military.
He mandated relevant committees of the National Assembly to ensure that funds appropriated to the armed forces are judiciously applied for the purpose for which they are budget.
“I think the issue of insecurity is one issue we will never get tired of debating here, and we must commend our armed forces and other security agencies.
“They give their lives in trying to secure this country, and that is the ultimate sacrifice anybody could pay.
“I believe that they are doing their best, but we also need to do our best as a government by giving them the kind of resources that they need. I believe we have done that in the supplementary budget as pointed out, but we also need to improve the annual appropriation for them.
“If we could pass over N800 billion in the supplementary budget, I don’t see why we cannot improve the resources up to N1 trillion and then hold our security agencies accountable.
“[And] I believe that we need to monitor the procurement processes when we give such kind of resources to our Armed Forces.”
The Senate thereafter, directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other federal government agencies to give all the necessary support to the victims of bandits in Sokoto and other parts of the country.
It also observed a minute silence in honor of the fallen heroes and civilians who lost their lives due to the activities of the bandits.
The Senate had several times in the last two years asked the federal government to tackle the lingering security challenges in the country.