By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has questioned the arrest, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) -led government, of organizers of a peaceful protests against the unchecked mass killing by bandits and insurgents in Katsina 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, hobnob with and even pay money to the assailants.
The party said this in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The arrest, the PDP said, further raised demands 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, according to the leading opposition party, 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.
According to the PDP, “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 neighboring countries, particularly Chad and Niger Republic to support the party’s bid during the build-up to the 2019 general elections.
“Furthermore, 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 elections, 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”, it said.
The PDP declared that 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 party therefore counselled 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.