By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said it was alarmed by the recent escalation of banditry in Niger State and other parts of the country, following the ‘failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to take decisive step to tackle the scourge’.
The party also condemned the reported killing as well as abduction of students of the Government Science Secondary School (GSS) in Kagara, Niger State, by bandits, who invaded the school yesterday morning.
According to a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party tasked security forces in the country to go after the outlaws and rescue the children.
Ologbondiyan said such is the only acceptable thing to be done as Nigerians were jolted by last Tuesday’s coordinated bandit attacks, kidnapping and killings in several communities in the state.
The PDP said the bandits were reported to have last Tuesday moved from one village to another, supported by helicopter as they pillaged innocent people, sacked major highways and held communities in the state hostage for several hours without any counter attack.
The party described as revealing that while the people of Niger State and Nigerians in other states were under attack by bandits, 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 victims.
Ologbondiyan further stated that the ‘lethargic’ stance of the APC administration towards the fight against banditry further validated reports in the public space that the bandits are connected to the APC, and are enjoying cover under the ruling party.
According to the PDP, “This probably explains why the APC never raised a strong voice against what has become a national calamity. Instead, APC leaders are patronising the bandits and making excuses for them.
“The public space is awash with reports that many of these bandits terrorising Nigerians were political mercenaries brought in by the APC from neighboring 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.”
Ologbondiyan added: “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 State attacks, the PDP tasked the security forces to go after the bandits and rescue the Kagara school children before any harm comes to them.
The PDP further urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and wary of the APC and its activities, as it also called on Nigerians to continue in rallying around the opportunities created by democracy in the effort to rescue the country from misrule and ensure lasting security for the country.