By Ismail Auwal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that using foreign mercenaries to combat banditry will exacerbate the country’s security challenges.
It could be recalled that Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai had said the north-west may resort to importing mercenaries to protect citizens if the military fails to wipe out bandits.
Reacting, the PDP accused el-Rufai of being a key player in the failure of leadership in Nigeria.
PDP alleged that APC governors “publicly romanced and empowered terrorists by paying them billions of naira of public funds in various hurried, uncoordinated and hazy negotiations”.
According to the opposition party, Nigeria’s alarming insecurity situation, which has resulted in the killing and maiming of tens of thousands of our compatriots since the APC took office in 2015, is the result of APC leaders’ and government officials’ actions and comments encouraging acts of terrorism in the name of politics.
“Nigerians can still recall how in July 2021, Governor el-Rufai, when asked why the Federal Government was lethargic in going after bandits (terrorists) stated that the bandits are collections of independent criminals for whom banditry is a business.”
The party also noted that Nigerians can also recall how ahead of the 2019 general elections, Governor el-Rufai threatened willing election observers.
According to the PDP, the governor stated in 2019 that “we are waiting for the persons who will come and intervene, they will go back in body bags.”
“Nigerians have not forgotten how in November 2020 the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency through its spokesperson, Shehu Garba, rationalized the beheading of 43 rice farmers in Borno State by terrorists and blamed the farmers for not obtaining clearance before going to their farms.”
The PDP, on the other hand, wants Governor el-Rufai to know that his suggestion or threats to import foreign mercenaries are counter-productive and have the potential to exacerbate our country’s already dire security situation.
The party added that “such comments and actions by el-Rufai, the Buhari administration and other APC leaders have the propensity to embolden terrorists to unleash violence on innocent people, the result of which are now apparent and living with us”.
The PDP said it believes in the “competence and capability” of the armed forces to defend the country, but added that they are being hindered by the “incompetence and failure” of the APC administration.