Tension as Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State revealed that reports of preliminary investigation linked some serving police and military personnel to bandits.
He spoke during the weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Media Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Reacting to the suspicion that the security arrangements might have been infiltrated by terrorists, El-Rufai said: “Yes, we’re concerned and it’s not impossible to have infiltrators. As I alluded to when I was answering this question, the preliminary report of (investigation into) Boko Haram financing also showed some links to bandits and pointed to some police and military officers in service as having some communication or connection with the bandits.
“So, there’s always that risks, in any system you have traitors and we’re concerned about that. But till date, we don’t have any firm evidence of that. I think a lot more work needs to be done.
“As I said, we need to pursue the financing and logistics chain of banditry as well because the amount of money these bandits are making is enough to destabilize this country. It’s a lot of money. We only have an idea of what it is because those that make the payments don’t tell us the truth all the time, but we hear from the legal intercepts of the conversations about how much money they are asking for, how much they have received and so on.
The numbers are mind boggling. It’s a major source of national insecurity and it will grow unless it’s decisively dealt with, he said.
He said if the government could cut off the finances of the bandits, seize their funds, and disrupt the logistic supply chain, 50 per cent of the battle would have been won.
The governor said banditry in the North West was far more serious than the Boko Haram crisis going by the growing number of the people killed and kidnapped.
While advocating simultaneous air and land attack on the terrorists by contiguous states, he said the piecemeal attacks had not been effective enough to curb the spate of kidnapping in the North West.
He said although a simultaneous land and air assault in all affected states might lead to the loss of innocent lives, his administration was willing to risk the collateral damage to secure Kaduna State and its environs.
He said his government had spent close to N21bn over the last seven years on security; while the federal government had reimbursed N100m.
He also said his administration would sack more unqualified secondary school teachers this year as 7,700 had been employed to take over from them.
He said Nigeria would produce its first steel by a private company based in Kaduna after a $600m investment on 143 hectares of land.