Lai Mohammed Under Attack Over Statement On Banditry, Kidnapping

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Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, have lambasted Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for saying prosecution of kidnappers and bandits was not federal government’s responsibility but that of states.

Lai Mohammed, while reacting to claims by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it was to disparage President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

“The PDP alleged that kidnappers and bandits are not being brought to justice. This is apparently aimed at the Federal Government. It is shocking that a party that ruled this nation for all of 16 years does not know that kidnapping and banditry are not federal offences.

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“The PDP should, therefore, call out the states, including those being controlled by it to ensure a rigorous prosecution of arrested kidnappers and bandits.”

But reacting to the minister’s statement, Okowa said, “We understand that terrorism is not a small crime; it’s a crime against the nation not even the particular state where it happens. So we want to believe that may be the man is being misquoted.

“The Federal Government cannot say they are not in a position to do so. What is most important, even beyond the prosecution, is to prevent because prosecution is when it has happened. What we are saying is that as a government, what do we do to ensure that there is no terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and all that in our country?

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“For us, that is much more important than the issue of who prosecutes who. If we are able to bring back our country to the path of peace like it used to in the 80s and 90s; it will be better for all of us, both those at the federal and the state levels.

“So, we all must be put hands together to ensure that terrorism, banditry and kidnapping are wiped out of our country.

“For those of us who are at the state level, we have a responsibility when there is information to give to Intelligence if it is available to us but we do know that the security of the nation at that level is highly much more with the central government.”

Also reacting, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, lambasted the minister over his statement, saying it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide security for Nigerians.

National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, said in Port Harcourt that the statement is unacceptable and a mark of irresponsibility .

Robinson said: “It is an irresponsible statement from the minister. The Federal Government is the federal government of Nigeria, so it is wrong to say that it is not their responsibility to prosecute criminal elements.

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“Even the constitution explicitly says that it is the responsibility of the government. We can’t be talking about bandits when internal security is under the Federal Government.

“State governments do not control the police or the Army. So it is irresponsible for a minister to make such statement in the face of what is going on in the country.”

 

 

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