Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, has blamed residents of Kagara in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State for the recent abduction of secondary school students in the community.
SaharaReporters had reported how gunmen suspected to be bandits stormed the Government Science College, Kagara on Wednesday, abducting many students and workers.
Defence Minister, Major-General Bashir Magashi.
Describing Nigerians, particularly in the North where banditry is rife as cowards, Magashi said all Nigerians have a responsibility to ensure there is adequate security within their areas.
Speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the screening of service chiefs by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Magashi said, “Well, is it 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 also boasted that all abducted students would be rescued soon.
He said the service chiefs would swing into action immediately they are through with the screening exercise by the lawmakers and track down the kidnappers to rescue the children.
Magashi 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.
“We have not got feedback on the activities going on in Niger State. But I am sure that before the end of the day, we will be given a full brief on what is going on in Niger State.”
Over 300 schoolboys who were abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State last December were not released until six days later, contrary to the statement made by the defence minister that they were released two days later.
They were kidnapped on the evening of December 11, 2020, and it was not until December 17, 2020, that the students regained their freedom.
The minister also dismissed the clamour from some quarters for Nigerians to be allowed to bear arms to defend themselves.
“It is an issue currently even in the developed country. They are still debating on whether to continue (to allow people to bear arms) or stop. But I don’t advise Nigerians to bear firearms for internal use,” he added.
Magashi recently made headlines for justifying the assault, molestation, and attack on peaceful #EndSARS protesters by security operatives at the Lekki toll gate.
Speaking on Saturday after participating in the revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano, the minister had described some of the protesters as rogues and thieves.
“This #EndSARS issue, if you recall, the minister of information has briefed this nation and alerted that something like this is coming; and we know we are always prepared. This is our job, to ensure internal security,” he said.
“We must plan for it. We don’t want to be taken by surprise. And if you want us to be taken by surprise, then, there is no need to call us protectors. If #EndSARS is to take place today, we will ensure that we have peaceful counter plans that we will put in place to ensure that mistakes are not made in protecting the people.
“You know the composition of the EndSARS crowd. Over 60 percent of them are people who don’t even know why they are there. They just come to take part. Some of them are rogues; some are there to steal. They want to do whatever they think. There are a few actual people.”
Saharareporters, New York