The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has said there is no term for acts of banditry and kidnapping other than terrorism.
Gunmen suspected to be bandits had last Wednesday stormed Government Science College (GSC), Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger state, kidnapping 27 students, staff and some members of staff’s families.
Kayode Fayemi, NGF chairman and Ekiti State governor, who spoke during a solidarity visit to Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello, on Tuesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari and governors are worried about insecurity in the country.
“At the level of the governors’ forum, we met last week and we came out with some specific ideas we have shared with the federal authority but for us, our visit is in commiseration, solidarity and in identifying with you, the government, and the good people of Niger State.
“We want to reassure you that even this difficult time shall pass but we must put our heads together, put all our efforts together, demonstrate resilience, reassure our people not to give up hope because ultimately we can only defeat terrorism collectively, not in isolation.
“What we are witnessing is terrorism, there is no other name for it. We may call it banditry, kidnapping, these are the remnants of the actors in the North East that have found themselves in other parts of the country. Whether they are known as ISWAP, Shekau faction, they are remnants of what we are still dealing with in that part of Nigeria.
“That is why we must not treat the North East in isolation of this problem. We are all victims as long as any section of our country is ravaged by this problem.
“On behalf of all your brother governors, I want to assure our people in Niger State that we are all for Niger State. We shall not rest until we resolve the challenges we have here as we have in other states,” Fayemi said.
The NGF chairman said the country cannot run away from the fact that the problem has to do with poverty, inequality, illiteracy, loss of hope among Nigerians.
“The ultimate agenda is to destroy the Federal Republic of Nigeria, let’s not make any mistake about it. It’s either we succumb to that agenda or fight it with every fibre in our being,” he said.
Responding, Bello thanked his counterparts and expressed his happiness at the visit, describing it as a “morale booster.”
He said the state has always been peaceful but it seems there is an agenda by some groups to deprive “our young ones of having a good education.”
“Everyone you see here has been on his/her toes praying for the safe return of the kidnap victims. Niger State have always been a peaceful state. Agreed from time to time we’ve had incidences of kidnapping but not to this magnitude.
“I think the time has come for us to come together and impose on the federal authority to do the needful. I think there is need for the federal authority to key in and work with state governments so that we are able to provide adequate intelligence and find a final solution to this menace,” Bello added.