Bandits chased away by military and security operatives in Zamfara and other northern states are fleeing to the south.
This is according to top security sources, who spoke to Punch.
The experts said security agents in other states had been alerted to be on the lookout for the fleeing bandits.
It was also gathered that the South-West states had put the regional security outfit, Amotekun, on the alert following intelligence reports that bandits being dislodged from Zamfara State were fleeing southwards.
The Amotekun Corps commanders in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states, in separate interviews, stated that residents of the states had been told to be vigilant and guard against infiltration by the fleeing hoodlums.
They said this as gunmen invaded the Kabba Correctional Centre in Kogi State, where they freed 240 inmates and killed two soldiers.
No fewer than four travellers were also abducted in Ekiti State on Monday.
The Federal Government had last week ordered telecommunications companies to shut down their base stations in Zamfara State as part of the onslaught against bandits, who were engaged in ceaseless kidnapping and killings in the state and other parts of the North-West.
The bandits had also been hit by hunger following the decision of the state government and neighbouring states to close regular markets, where they were getting foodstuffs.
There were reports that many bandits had been killed during military raids, while others were said to be fleeing Zamfara State.
A senior police officer said, “A few days ago, some of the bandits fled to Niger State and they were dealt with by the military. Some of them are moving southwards and security agents have been alerted.”
The Corps Commander, Amotekun Corps, Ekiti State, Brig Gen Joe Komolafe (retd.), said the agency had always envisaged that the dislodged bandits would want to take refuge in other states and was proactive about guarding against their incursion into Ekiti.
Komolafe said, “We have always envisaged that when dislodged, they will want to move to other states; that is why each time we come out, we talk to the citizens to report strange faces to us.
“We try as much as possible to monitor the routes and entry points; we know that the criminals may not come by road or through the main routes to enter the state; it is in view of that that we always tell our people to report strange faces to us.
“We patrol the forests; we have people on the farms, who will tell us when they see strange faces on the farms or bushes. We try to plead with the people to give us necessary information about strange faces and unusual movements.
“Also, we have perfect working relationships with Amotekun in the neighbouring states as well all security agencies in the state.”
On his part, the Ondo State Amotekun Corps Commander, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, stated that the security outfit had received a security report on the fleeing bandits.
He said Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had given an order for the corps to put in place necessary security measures in the 18 local government areas of the state to prevent the bandits from striking in the state.
Adeleye stated, “We have got information from a reliable intelligence report that the fleeing bandits are coming, that they intend to stay in the forest to cause mayhem and that they are closing in seriously. The source told us that the bandits want to start with Ondo State as a frontline state.
“So, with that, we have put serious intelligence on the ground across the state and our primary aim is to prevent any infiltration and attack. We don’t even want them to strike before we get them. So, we are at every local government area, every major town and inside the forest.
“On the other side too, we are deploying all means to ensure that if they come to this state, they will meet their waterloo. Right now, our intelligence is on the ground at every nook and cranny of the state. And we are monitoring keenly. That is what Mr Governor has directed me to do and I will do it diligently.”