The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, says Nigerians should not show cowardice in the face of attacks from bandits.
Major General Magashi’s comment comes a few hours after armed men attacked Government Science College Kagara in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, killing a student and abducting many others.
Speaking with newsmen after the screening of service chiefs by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Magashi said security is not the sole responsibility of the military, adding that Nigerians must join the fight against bandits and other miscreants threatening the nation’s peace.
Magashi who does not support the calls for legalization to have civilians bear firearms in the country, however, noted that citizens need to show that they are not afraid of bandits.
“Well, it is not the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to be alert and ensure safety when necessary.
“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run. In our younger days, we stand to fight any form of aggression.
“Why should people run away from minor, minor aggressions? We should stand and face them. If these people know that the people have the competence and capability to defend themselves, they will run away,” the minister told newsmen.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Sani Musa, has said the abductors of the students of Government Science College, Kagara, in Niger State, were terrorists and not bandits.
“There is no presence of anybody but the bandits. I don’t call them bandits, I call them terrorists,” the lawmaker said.
“It has happened in Chibok, it has happened in Dapchi, it has happened in Kankara, it has happened in Kagara, we cannot guarantee where next, so, necessary steps have to be taken.”
Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello of Niger has directed that all boarding schools in Shiroro, Rafi and Muyan be closed down with immediate effect until the situation improved.
He called on the Federal Government to deploy all resources to secure the state, while the State Government was doing everything possible to ensure safe return of the students and staff.
Bello also said that the State Government would not pay ransom to the suspected bandits in order to secure the release of their victims, but that it was ready to support any bandit who was ready to surrender their arms.
“When you negotiate and pay ransom to criminals, they will use the money to purchase more weapons,” he said.
The minister has assured Nigerians that all abducted students would be rescued as soon as possible.
He said the service chiefs would swing into action swiftly as to track down the kidnappers and rescue those who were abducted.
The minister said:” We have demonstrated our ability to take on the challenge. We have done it in Katsina; when children were kidnapped. Within two days, we got them back. Hopefully, this time, we will do the same (thing) to get these captives back. We are planning.