President Muhammadu Buhari saidon Tuesday that he was “taken aback” by the resurgence of banditry and insurgency in the country.
But he promised to be harder on criminals.
Federal lawmakers who returned from their recess also expressed misgivings about the situation.
Both chambers of the National Assembly will today debate the worsening insecurity with a view to proffering solution having identified the need to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
The death toll in the Plateau State killings has risen to 33, causing discomfort for Governor Simon Lalong, who ordered the arrest of some community leaders.
Speaking to visiting Niger State Eminent Citizens led by Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello, the President said: “I was taken aback by what is happening in the Northwest 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.
President Buhari said the onslaught of the bandits had also affected agricultural output in some parts of the country, in spite of the favourable weather for farming, because many farmers were attacked, and others had to stay away for safety.
The continuous attacks on Niger State communities has been going on for three weeks consecutively, Senator Sabi Abdullahi told reporters on Tuesday.
Abdullahi, a member of the Niger State Eminent Citizens who visited the President at the Villa, said: “Arising from the last three weeks of continuous attacks, my colleague has cried out as it is customary of him as a representative of the people and this has led to Mr. President giving directives that the army and the air force should do the needful by identifying the target and where necessary shell the area so that this issue can be brought under control.
According to him, the security architecture of the country had completely collapsed, adding that there was the need to restructure it.
Speaking for the group, former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu, said activities of bandits had rendered many homeless, while others could no longer go to the farms, thanking the President for taking a more decisive action by directing aerial protection by the military.
In his welcome address, Senate President Ahmed Lawan said the Senate would discuss the implementation of the recently launched National Security Strategy (NSS) 2019 with the Executive.
House of Representatives spokesman Benjamin Kalu said the House will give legislative backing to efforts to address the security challenges in the country.