President Muhammadu Buhari has described Thursday’s attack on Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State as a direct assault on Nigeria.
The President, in a statement issued Friday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the attackers would not go unpunished.
He said the incident would not affect the battle against terrorism as the country was united to get rid of these “demons” and “terrorists” whom he further described as “parasites”.
Buhari paid tributes to the gallant men of the security forces who lost their lives in the process of defending the attack and asked Nigerians to pray for the safe return of those abducted.
He said: “We honour our security forces, and particularly those brave souls who have given their lives fighting against the evil that is terrorism. They constitute the best that Nigeria has to offer and we remember each of them.
“Sadly, Nigeria’s fight against terrorism continues. It is a battle that is taking its toll on all of us. But we shall not relent, nor shall we surrender. We say it again that we have reduced Boko Haram to a shell of its former self. But terrorists are parasites. They thrive when the world is suffering.
“This atrocity only serves to further strengthen us against them. Nigeria is united in obliterating these demons. Each day we grow closer to that goal. When they lash out during times of global suffering it is the act of a cornered animal, an act of desperation. As always, their goal is the same: to sow fear and division amongst us. We will not let them.
“Instead let us pray for the families and loved ones of those who sacrificed their lives in the fight against evil, and let us pray for the safe and speedy return of those abducted. We will do everything possible to ensure their return. And to the sadists, I say this: we are coming. No matter what rock you crawl under, what hole you sink into, what lie you hide behind, we are coming and we will find you. Shiroro will see justice. Nigeria will know peace,” the President assured.
The terrorists in Niger State had killed 15 soldiers and seven policemen during an ambush.
The soldiers belonging to the 45 Battalion, Bida, were said to be on a rescue mission when the terrorists, acting on prior information laid siege on the way.
A group of the terrorists had earlier attacked a mining site being managed by Chinese nationals at Ajata-Aboki in Gurmana Ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
During the attack, seven mobile policemen guarding the site and some soldiers at a nearby Erena community were among those killed.
Shiroro is also a strategic town because it houses the Shiroro Power Station, a hydroelectric power plant on the Kaduna River in Niger State, with a power generating capacity of 600 megawatts (800,000 hp), which is enough to power over 404,000 homes.