The Peoples Democratic Party has described the statement credited to the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), as reckless and pessimistic for calling Nigerians ‘cowards’ and asking them to defend themselves against armed bandits and terrorists.
The PDP said this in a statement issued on Thursday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
Ologbondiyan lambasted Magashi in the press release and demanded his sacking for “abdicating his statutory duties in asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against armed aggression by bandits and terrorists.”
The party said the minister’s statement, which it described also as irresponsible, is an endorsement that the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) has “surrendered to outlaws and has no determination to fight them.”
The party said, “It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorists and bandits as 'cowards' while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja.
“Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where the government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords.
“Given the silence by the Buhari Presidency, our party holds that the defeatist comment by the minister represents the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari and his security architecture, and explains why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in our country.
“Such a statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, has been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts, atrocities against our compatriots.
“Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower.
“Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair at this moment but brace up as it has become obvious that we are now in a despondent situation where the government has shown that it can no longer defend the citizens.”