By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in Niger State has picked holes in the amnesty granted to armed bandits operating in parts of the state by governor Abubakar Sani Bello and described it as a sham.
The party noted in a widely circulated statement that since the so called truce was entered between the leadership of the armed bandits and the state government, armed banditry and criminalities by criminal elements have not ceased nor have citizens, especially in rural communities, known any relief.
The statement condemned the governor Abubarkar Sani Bello led administration for releasing about thirty, (30) bandits under the guise of an amnesty programme which the party argued only gave the criminals opportunity to reinforce and continue with their attacks on innocent, defenceless citizens.
The present administration in the state had in September, announced that it had ordered the release of arrested armed bandits at a ceremony held at the Legbo Kutigi Conference Centre in Minna.
The state government had expressed certainty that the peace deal and amnesty would end the series of attacks by armed bandits who have been terrorizing communities in the three Local Government Areas of Rafi, Shiroro and Munya.
Several hundreds of victims of the raids and attacks by the bandits have been dispersed from their communities and are now sheltered in Internally Displaced Peoples Camps in Rafi.
“Today, there are several Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) camps in Kagara as people who were forced out of their villages in Alawa, Kukoki, Pandogari, Madaka and neighbouring villages of Rafi and Shiroro Local Government Areas, where some bandits have taken over their homes and farm lands to set up camps and cells, are now quartered in shelter camps as displaced persons” the statement said.
Since the peace deal was brokered and the amnesty granted, the bandits have not stopped their nefarious activities, a development which have made many citizens to questioned the rationale in the amnesty programme.
The statement signed by Barrister Suleiman Zhigun, PDP’s Secretary in the state, blamed governor Abubakar Sani Bello for poor understanding of the workings of government and lacking the requisite intelligence to administer the state.
It noted with dismay that the state governor had unscrupulously led the state into a blind peace agreement with hardened armed criminals and let go of those who have caused anguish, blood letting, pains, penury and dislocation of persons from their homes and farmsteads.
The statement noted that despite the so called truce and amnesty, armed bandits have continued to gain grounds and were now setting up camps in some rural communities to further rubbish the governor’s jaundiced amnesty programme.
It described the entire exercise as a hoax and ploy by those who entered into such blind trust with the criminals to enable the criminal armed bandits to reinforce and continue their terror reign on innocent citizens.
The statement alleged that the governor used the peace pact as a ploy to release armed bandits for curious reasons unknown to the state and security agents who laid down their lives to arrest the dangerous criminal armed bandits.
The statement therefore tasked governor Sani Bello to reassess his administration’s stance on the security challenges besetting the state and reverse from his unworkable amnesty programme with criminal armed bandits terrorizing parts of the state.
it similarly asked the state governor to cut his travels, globe trotting to settle down at home to face the task of governance for which he was voted into office for.
It condemned as wasteful, the governor’s travel bills and said his frequent trips have not yielded any good fruit to the state whereas he was needed at home to hold regular security meetings and provide succour to those affected by armed banditry attacks across the state”
The statement expressed disgust at the poor disposition of the state government to assist security agencies in the state particularly those who were facing daunting challenges in mobility to access rough and difficult terrains in parts of the state in their efforts to respond to distress calls to tackle the bandits,
The PDP scribe in Niger state added in the statement that security situation under the present administration in the state was getting worse by the day adding that increasing wave of criminalities in parts of Minna, the seat of government in the state was a clear indication of the failure of the governor.