Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thursday kicked against the arrest by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of organizers of a peaceful protest against the unchecked mass killing by bandits and insurgents in Katsina State and other parts of the country, particularly in the North.
The PDP described as absurd, but revealing, that the APC-led government would arrest, harass and detain victims of the bandits, but chose to negotiate and hobnob with and even pay money to the assailants.
The arrest, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said further raises the demand for the APC and its governors, particularly, those who openly confessed to have had contacts, negotiations and financial dealing with the bandits, to come clean on their alleged links with insurgents and marauders.
“Such actions by the APC administration, in addition to utterances of its leaders, have continued to dishearten Nigerians while emboldening bandits and insurgents to continue to pillage our communities, hold towns to ransom and visit all manner of violence on vulnerable Nigerians in various parts of the country,” the main opposition party said.
It recalled the utterances by certain APC leaders, including asking victims of attacks not to revenge even in the face of poor security presence in the affected communities as well as admission by the government that the marauders were mercenaries from the Sahel region and armed deserters from the late Muammah Gadaffi’s Libya.
The PDP reminded Nigerians that the APC and its leaders are yet to explain the whereabouts of the thugs they imported as political mercenaries from neighboring countries, particularly Chad and Niger Republic, to support the party’s bid during the build-up to the 2019 general election.
Furthermore, it said the APC and its leaders are yet to answer how marauders, who were already pushed to the fringes by the PDP administration, resurged under their watch.
“Nigerians can recall that prior to the 2015 general election, insurgency had been extensively compressed, leading to the successful conduct of the general election in all the 774 local government areas in the country,” Ologbondiyan said.
According to the PDP, “It is therefore clear that the constant narrative by the APC that some local governments were under the control of insurgents, when it took over office, is a mere propaganda.”
The party said the situation in Katsina and other northern states ought to be seen by the Buhari administration as a patriotic call to wake up to its responsibilities and take a decisive action to flush out the bandits and secure the country.
The party, therefore, counseled President Buhari to go beyond endless meetings within the comfort of the Presidential Villa and, for once, lead from the front in this fight against insurgency and banditry in the country.