Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi has assured that the school children kidnapped in Niger state by armed bandits will be rescued, saying the government will adopt the same strategy it used to rescue the school children earlier kidnapped in Katsina.
Speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the screening of Service Chiefs by the House of Representatives, Magashi said the service chiefs will swing into action immediately they are through with the screening exercise by the lawmakers and track down the kidnappers with a view to rescuing the children.
He said “we have demonstrated our ability to take on the challenge. We have done it in Katsina; when children were kidnapped, within two days, we got them back. Hopefully, this time, we will do the same (thing) to get this these captives back. We are planning.
“We have not got a feedback on the activities going on in Niger State. But I am that before the end of the day, we will be given a full brief on what is going on in Niger State”.
While insisting that Nigerians have a responsibility to ensure there is adequate security, the Minister said “Well, is it not 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, minor aggressions? 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 government will ensure no Nigerian is hurt and will protect the territorial integrity of the county.
The Minister also dismissed clamour for Nigerians to be allowed to bear arms to defend themselves, saying “It is an issue currently even in the developed country. They are still debating on whether to continue (to allow people bear arms) or stop. But I don’t advice Nigerians to bear fire arms for internal use.”
Answering question on the merit of the nomination of the former Service Chiefs as ambassadors, he said “You should understand the efforts the service chiefs put in for this country. When they came in 2015, you could see the applause, people accepted them and they were doing this nation proud.
“They captured virtually all the areas under the control of the terrorists and their only fault is probably because they stayed long and we know that Nigerians always don’t want people to stay long because of obvious reasons. But I think they have done their best and I believe they are capable and competent to take any other assignment.”
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