Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), on Wednesday, rallied Nigerians to defend themselves against bandits who have turned kidnapping into a thriving business in a 30second video trending on social media.
Magashi, speaking against the backdrop of the abduction of 42 people, including pupils, from the Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State early on Wednesday, told reporters in Abuja that the bandits were having a field day because they knew people in communities they attack would not fight back.
Magashi, while fielding questions from reporters in Abuja, urged Nigerians to defend themselves against bandits and stop being cowardly.
According to him, tackling the increasing insecurity in the country is the responsibility of all.
Reacting to the abduction of the Kagara pupils, Magashi said: “Well, is it the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to be alert and ensure safety when necessary. We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run.
“In our younger days, we stand to fight any form of aggression. Why should people run away from minor aggression? We should stand and face them. If these people know that the people have the competence and capability to defend themselves, they will run away.”
The minister, however, said the government would protect the territorial integrity of the county and its people.
The bandits said to be numbering about 300, in a daring raid, had staged attacks on the school, and abducted 27 pupils, three members of staff of the school and 12 members of families of the kidnapped staff.
The Kagara abduction came barely two months after gunmen, in commando style, invaded the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, on December 11, 2020, and abducted over 300 pupils who were subsequently freed about a week later from where they were being held in a forest in neighbouring Zamfara State.
President Muhammadu Buhari immediately issued marching orders to security chiefs to recover the Kagara abductees.