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Reactions as Buhari’s minister asks Nigerians to defend themselves against armed bandits


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MIXED reactions have trailed comments by Bashir Magashi, minister of defence, asking armless Nigerians to defend themselves against armed bandits in the face of growing insecurity in the country.

Magashi had stated this to newsmen at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Tuesday.

While wondering why people were ‘running from minor things,’ referring to attacks by bandits, he said that victims of banditry should resist such attacks and signal to the criminals that “even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves.”

He added that the bandits would sometimes carry only a few rounds of ammunition.

“Is it the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to keep alert and to find safety when necessary. But we shouldn’t be cowards,” the minister told reporters.

“At times, the bandits will only come with about three rounds of ammunition. When they fire shots, everybody runs. In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming for us.

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“I don’t know why people are running from minor things like that. They should stand and let these people know that even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves.”

Magashi, however, noted that the military would always ensure that no Nigerian was hurt.

He said although the security agencies were ‘so stretched,’ they remained “capable of protecting the integrity of this nation and will continue to do it.”

The minister’s comment is coming after dozens of school children and staff were kidnapped from a secondary school in Niger State by rocket-propelled and gun-wielding bandits on Wednesday.

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Reacting, Nigerians wondered how they should defend themselves against elements wielding sophisticated weapons. Some lamented that the minister’s statement signalled the failure of security under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

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Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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