By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wednesday, expressed worry over the spate of abduction in the country, particularly, yesterday’s reported killing of a student and kidnapping of students of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger states by bandits.
The PDP in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, tasked security forces to go after the outlaws and rescue the children unhurt.
The statement read in part: “Nigerians were jolted by Tuesday’s coordinated bandit attacks, kidnapping and killings in several communities in Niger state.
“Bandits were reported to have on Tuesday, moved from village to village, supported by a helicopter, as they pillaged our compatriots, sacked major highways and held communities in Niger state hostage for several hours without any counter attack.
“The PDP describes as revealing that while the people of Niger state and Nigerians in other states were under attack by bandits, All Progressives Congress, APC leaders, including those in Niger state, were busy pursuing their party’s phony membership re-registration exercise, instead of rallying security and rescue efforts for the people.
“The lethargic stance of the APC administration towards the fight against banditry further validates reports in the public space that the bandits are connected to the APC and enjoying cover under the ruling party.
“This probably explains why the APC never raised a strong voice against what has become a national calamity. Instead, APC leaders are patronizing the bandits and making excuses for them.
“The public space is awash with reports that many of these bandits terrorizing Nigerians were political mercenaries brought in by the APC from neighbouring countries to help it enforce the rigging of the 2019 elections, but which the APC and its leaders failed to settle after the elections, leaving them to unleash their frustrations on innocent Nigerians.
“Our party charges the APC to speak out on these reports and take immediate steps to settle their political mercenaries, return them to wherever they brought them from and bring an end to these gruesome attacks on Nigerians.
“While commiserating with the victims of the Niger attacks, the PDP tasks the security forces to go after the bandits as well as rescue the Kagara school children before any harm comes upon them.”
Meanwhile, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has called on the federal government to rise to the occasion and defend Nigerians from senseless assault by bandits and kidnappers.
Condemning the Kagara abduction, the Wazirin Adamawa in a statement he personally signed said “the spate of insecurity in Nigeria is now beyond alarming. It has gotten to crisis levels, especially when it involves children and other minors.”
The statement continued: “Now is not the time for fingers to point in blame. Our nation needs solutions. And we have now seen that paying ransoms and allowing criminals to profit from their criminality is not a solution. When you reward crimes, the end result is more crime.
“The only long term solution to the insecurity challenge Nigeria is facing is to end the reign of impunity. The federal government must enforce the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against abductions and kidnappings, by apprehending the criminals, trying them and making an example of those convicted, to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Also, we must be proactive. We cannot wait for these abductions to happen and then go into reactive mode.
“I therefore call on the federal government to declare all secondary and primary schools in the affected states and zones, as federal protected zones, and post armed military personnel at all schools for 24/7 protection. If it is not feasible to have armed military guards in all schools, then each state should as a matter of urgency replicate the Civilian Joint Task Force idea that has worked so well in Borno, and deploy them to each school, along with men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“What we must not do is do nothing. History may forgive us for making wrong decisions, but we will never be forgiven if we carry on business as usual.
“As a nation, we must be willing to provide the same level of security that we provide for the schools that the children of the elite attend, for schools that the children of other classes of Nigerians attend.”