The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, has said remnants of Boko Haram insurgents are responsible for the incessant cases of kidnappings, banditry and other crimes being witnessed in parts of the country.
Fayemi, who spoke during a televised conference monitored by THE WHISTLER on Tuesday, said there was an “ultimate agenda” to destroy Nigeria using Boko Haram remnants who have now turned to banditry.
The governor spoke in Minna, Niger State, when the NGF visited Governor Abubakar Bello over the three cases of kidnapping witnessed in the state in the last few weeks.
Bandits had abducted more than 52 persons in the separate attacks, including the one on the Government Science College (GSC), Kagara, where about 27 students and 15 staff of the school were abducted by gunmen.
“What we are witnessing is terrorism. There is no other name for it. Yes, we may call it banditry, we may call it kidnapping, these are the remnants of the actors in the North-east, that has found themselves in other parts of the country.
“Whether they are known as ISWAP or known as Shekau people, they are remnant of what we are still dealing with in that part of Nigeria, and that is why we must not treat the north-east in isolation in this country,” said Fayemi.
The governor also attributed worsening insecurity in the country to the longstanding issues of, “…poverty, inequality and illiteracy,” adding that, “It has to do with loss of hope among our people who have then become cannon fodder in the hands of these criminal element ready to use them to foment trouble and destroy our country.”
“But ultimately, the agenda is to destroy the federal republic of Nigeria, let’s not make any mistake about it. That is the ultimate agenda. It is either we succumb to that agenda, or we fight it with every fibre in our being and I believe we will fight it in order to save our people,” he said.
Speaking further, Fayemi assured Governor Bello and the people of Niger State that, “even this difficult moments shall pass, but we must put all our heads together, put all our all efforts together, demonstrate resilience, reassure our people not to give up hope, because ultimately we can only defeat terrorism collectively not in isolation.”
He assured the residents of the state and Nigerians in general that the federal government was doing all it could to rescue the abducted victims and also address the root causes of the situation ravaging the nation.
On his part, the Niger State Governor, Sani-Bello called for a synergy between the federal and state governments to provide adequate intelligence to bring an end to the pain being faced by victims of abduction.
While backing the need to adopt dialogue as a means to resolving banditry in the country, Bello urged that those terrorising the country without “sign of repentance” should be dealt with decisively.