By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Five former state governors on Friday were at the Government House Minna, Niger State on sympathy visit to the people and government of the state over recent assaults, killings and kidnapping by armed bandits in parts of parts of the state.
Within seventy eight hours beginning from last Sunday, armed bandits had struck in several communities across four council areas of Rafi, Shiroro, Munya and Mariga.
Last Sunday, over forty persons, mostly women onboard a state owned commuter bus were kidnapped along Kundu – Garin Gabas – Zungeru road.
On Wednesday, some bandits struck at the Government Science Secondary School, Kagara where they shot dead a student and took away forty seven persons including twenty seven students, three teachers and twelve members of the college’s community.
Bandits again struck at Kushaka and at Kachuae village of neighbouring Shiroro and Munya councils. The count has been ongoing.
The former governors, all of them members of Nigeria’s main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, are members of the party’s National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee empaneled by the leadership of the party to reconcile aggrieved members of the party, calm down frayed nerves and knit broken walls within the party.
The members of the committee include, former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, (who is former governor of Kwara state) former governor of Cross River state, Lyle Imoke, former governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo, former governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema, and former House Leader, Mulikat Akanbi. They were led to the Government House, Minna by former governor of Niger state, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu.
The leader of the delegation, Abubarkar Bukola Saraki condemned the abduction of the school boys and the bus travellers who were mostly women with their small children and called for the end of banditry just as he sued for national unity to end the menace that has bedevilled the country.
He noted that though they were of the opposition political party, issues bordering on security challenges were national and therefore should be devoid of partisanship, party differences and sentiments.
The former Senate President advised that Nigeria has people of impeccable character, leaders who could stand and speak for the country who should lead discussions on how to end the sprawling insecurity situation in the country. He therefore urged Nigerians to come together to solve the security problems besetting the country.
“This matter is a national problem and should not be left to the government alone. Everybody, even members of the opposition political parties should come together to support moves to end the siege on our land” he said.
“When people are kidnapped, their abductors don’t ask their victims if are members of the APC or PDP. Therefore, we must have a national approach towards addressing this challenge. All of us must be ready and willing to contribute our separate quarters”, he said.
Members of the PDP’s national reconciliation committee were in Niger state in furtherance of their responsibility, however they took time off to visit governor Sani Bello to sympathise and condole with the people and government of the state.
The committee had earlier visited former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and former Head of State, General Abdulsalami A. Abubakar at their separate uphill residences in Minna.