The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday traded words over the abduction of students of the Government Science Secondary School Kagara, Niger State by bandits.
The parties took a swipe at each other in a separate statements.
The PDP, which was the first to issue the statement signed by its Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party is alarmed by what it described as “escalation of banditry in Niger State as well as other parts of the country,” blamed it on the “failure of the APC administration to take decisive step to tackle the scourge.”
Ologbondiyan, who condemned the abduction of the students, tasks security forces to go after the outlaws and rescue the children.
He said, “Nigerians were jolted by the Tuesday’s coordinated bandit attacks, kidnapping and killings in several communities in Niger state.
“Bandits were reported to have on Tuesday, moved from village to village, supported by a helicopter, as they pillaged our compatriots, sacked major highways and held communities in Niger state hostage for several hours without any counter attack.
“The PDP describes as revealing that while the people of Niger state and Nigerians in other states were under attack by bandits, APC leaders, including those in Niger state, were busy pursuing their party’s phony membership re-registration exercise, instead of rallying security and rescue efforts for the people.
“The lethargic stance of the APC administration towards the fight against banditry further validates reports in the public space that the bandits are connected to the APC and enjoying cover under the ruling party.
“This probably explains why the APC never raised a strong voice against what has become a national calamity. Instead APC leaders are patronizing the bandits and making excuses for them.”
The PDP spokesman further said reports in public space allege that “many of the bandits terrorizing Nigerians were political mercenaries brought in by the APC from neighboring countries to help it enforce the rigging of the 2019 elections, but which the APC and its leaders failed to settle after the elections, leaving them to unleash their frustrations on innocent Nigerians.
“Our party charges the APC to speak out on these reports and take immediate steps to settle their political mercenaries, return them to wherever they brought them from and bring an end to this gruesome attacks on Nigerians.”
He condoled with the victims of the Niger attacks and asked security forces to go after the bandits as well as rescue the Kagara school children before any harm comes upon them.
In a sharp reaction to the PDP, the APC in its statement signed by National Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), APC, Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe, blasted PDP, saying it join issues with the party.
According to Udoedehe, PDP’s statement that bandits moved from village to village aided by helicopter, is
“crass, wild and baseless.”
He noted that if anyone is in doubt that the PDP should not be taken seriously on any issue in the country, their (PDP) statement is “a stark reminder.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari is focused on the quick, safe return of the abductees.
He added, “Coordinated by our service chiefs, President Muhammadu Buhari has already deployed to Niger State national security assets to achieve this.
“We urge parents, loved ones and other stakeholders not to be distracted by the PDP’s insensitive, horribly-timed and baseless conspiracies and lies as all hand are on deck to ensure the quick and safe release of the abductees.
“Government’s resolve and the capacity of our security services to end these cowardly attacks on soft targets, particularly schools is not in doubt. We urge the continued support all Nigerians to ensure this.”