The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, condemned the arrest of organisers of protests against mass killing by bandits and insurgents in Katsina and other parts of the country, particularly in the North.
The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was absurd that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government would “arrest, harass and detain victims of the bandits but chose to negotiate, hobnob with and even pay money to the assailants.”
The opposition party noted that the arrest of the protesters made it more imperative for the APC and its governors, especially 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.”
It added that “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 PDP recalls utterances by certain APC leaders, including asking victims of attacks not to revenge even in the face of poor security presence in affected communities as well as admission by government that the marauders were mercenaries from the Sahel region and armed deserters from late Muammah Gadaffi’s Libya.
“The PDP reminds Nigerians that the APC and its leaders are yet to explain the whereabouts of the thugs they imported as political mercenaries from neighbouring countries, particularly Chad and Niger Republic, to support the party’s bid during the build-up to the 2019 general election.”
The PDP further stated that the ruling party and its leaders are yet to explain how “marauders, who were already pushed to the fringes” by the last administration resurged under their watch.
“Nigerians can recall that prior to the 2015 general election, insurgency had been extensively compressed, leading the successful conduct of the general election in all the 774 local governments across the country.
“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 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 our nation.
“The PDP counsels President Muhammadu Buhari to go beyond endless meetings within the comfort of the Aso Presidential Villa and, for once, lead from the front in this fight against insurgency and banditry in our country,” PDP said.