The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called for the sack of the Minister of Defence, Maj.- Gen Bashir Magashi (retd), for asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against bandits.
Magashi, who spoke at the National Assembly on Wednesday while reacting to the abduction of staff and students of Government Science College in Niger State, said Nigerians should confront bandits who attack them with AK-47 rifles.
“Is it (security issue) the responsibility of the military alone? We shouldn’t be cowards. It is the responsibility of everybody to be alert and ensure safety when necessary,” he had said.
“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes 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.”
But the PDP in a statement released by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiyan, described Magashi’s comment as reckless, irresponsible and a confirmation that the Buhari administration has no determination to fight criminals in the country.
”It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorist and bandits as ‘cowards’ while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja,” the statement read.
“Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government, goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where the government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords.
“Given the silence by the Buhari Presidency, our party holds that the defeatist comment by the minister represents the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari and his security architecture, and explains why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in our country.
“Such statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, have been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts atrocities against our compatriots.
“Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower.
The main opposition party also urged Nigerians not to despair at the moment but brace up, as it has become obvious that citizens are now in a despondent situation where the government has shown that it can no longer defend them.
The defence minister’s comment elicited serious backlash from Nigerians on social media.