South South govs, PANDEF blast Lai Mohammed over statement on banditry, kidnapping

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that prosecution of kidnappers and bandits was not federal government’s responsibility but that of states.

Mohammed, who stated this at a briefing in Abuja, was reacting to claims by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the government was not doing enough to stem the tide of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping across the country.

He said: “The PDP accused this Federal Government of not engaging and of running a government of exclusion, forgetting, conveniently, that this government has consistently engaged Nigerians on topical national issues, including security, the fight against corruption, terrorism, infrastructure and farmer-herder conflict.

“The town hall meeting series, which we launched in 2016, has so far been held 18 times across Nigeria. It’s always a no-holds-barred opportunity for the government to engage with critical stakeholders, briefing them on government policies and programmes and getting their feed backs, thus ensuring inclusion and deepening of democracy.

“The latest of such town hall meetings was the one in Kaduna. I will go ahead and read the 10-point recommendations from that Town Hall Meeting, and you can then judge for yourself who is ahead of the other.

“Now, we have gone a step further. We have taken those resolutions to the National Economic Council, NEC, chaired by the Vice President, and which also includes all the state governors.

“As a prelude to adopting the recommendations, the NEC has directed all state governors to organize state-wide consultation on them, and then revert to the council in its next meeting.

“You can now see that the PDP was more interested in playing politics with national challenges than helping to find solutions to them. They presented as original thinking some of the same resolutions that we are already working to implement, without a single reference to those same recommendations that emanated from our town hall meeting of April 8, 2021.

“They disparaged the President and the Federal Government, engaged in name calling and finger-pointing, gloated about the security challenges facing the nation, lied about how they resolved security challenges under their watch and then went ahead to say, at their hysterical press conference, that they have not come to play politics. Who is fooling who here?

“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.