Nigerians are cowards for running away from ordinary Bandits - Defence Minister
Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Major General Bashir Magashi, has said Nigerians are cowards for running away while “minor aggressions” from bandits prevail in the country, blaming residents of Kagara in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State for the recent abduction of secondary school students in the community.

Magashi said all Nigerians have a responsibility to ensure there is adequate security within their areas.

Speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the screening of service chiefs by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Magashi said, “Well, is it not the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to be alert and ensure safety when necessary.

“We shouldn’t be cowards. Sometimes the bandits come with about three rounds of ammunition and when they fire shots everybody will run. In our younger days, we stand to fight any form of aggression.

“Why should people run away from minor, minor aggressions? We should stand and face them. If these people know that the people have the competence and capability to defend themselves, they will run away.” The minister also boasted that all abducted students would be rescued soon.

He said the service chiefs would swing into action immediately they are through with the screening exercise by the lawmakers and track down the kidnappers to rescue the children. Magashi said, ”We have demonstrated our ability to take on the challenge. We have done it in Katsina; when children were kidnapped.

Within two days, we got them back. Hopefully, this time, we will do the same (thing) to get these captives back. We are planning. “We have not got feedback on the activities going on in Niger State. But I am sure that before the end of the day, we will be given a full brief on what is going on in Niger State.”

Over 300 schoolboys who were abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State last December were not released until six days later, contrary to the statement made by the defence minister that they were released two days later. They were kidnapped on the evening of December 11, 2020, and it was not until December 17, 2020, that the students regained their freedom.

The minister also dismissed the clamour from some quarters for Nigerians to be allowed to bear arms to defend themselves. “It is an issue currently even in the developed country. They are still debating on whether to continue (to allow people to bear arms) or stop. But I don’t advise Nigerians to bear firearms for internal use,” he added.