The last Saturday massacre of scores of residents and security personnel at Galadiman Kogo in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State has continued to elicit reactions.
DAILY POST had reported that the terrorists engaged the Niger State Joint Security Taskforce, JSTF, in a bloody gun fire leading to mass casualties.
The villagers are now blaming the government, stating that the attack could have been averted, while the State government is blaming the villagers for not being proactive when they noticed the movement of the terrorists towards their town.
The State Governor, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello had in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, CPS Mrs Mary Noel-Berje on Monday, said, “it would have been unsuccessful if villagers from Galape and Kudodo in Allawa community had alerted the security agencies when they noticed movements of the terrorists towards the town.
“Security agencies cannot perform effectively and efficiently without getting appropriate support and intelligence from the people”.
Irked by the comment, a group known as the Concerned Shiroro Youth of Niger State, on behalf of the residents, vehemently faulted the statement, saying resorting to playing blame game over the attack was an outright insult to the collective sensibility of the people of the area.
The group, in a press statement jointly signed by its co-conveners, Sani Abubakar Yusuf Kokki and Bello Ibrahim and made available to journalists, noted that shifting blame on villagers over terrorists attack is one of the indices of a weak, failed and non-performing government.
They explained that contrary to Government’s claim, the locals took proactive step and informed the authorities concerned about the imminent attack, having gotten a hint about their (terrorists) movement towards the direction of Galadima Kogo.
The group argued that rather than accepting blame, the government was trying to cover up the mess perpetrated by its officials.
“Resorting to a blame game in a desperate move to put up a defence for failure is one of the indices of a weak, failed and non-performing Government. This is a futile attempt to cover up the visible mess perpetrated by government officials,” they stated.
Instead of the Government beefing up security, the group observed that,” it opted for the withdrawal of some security personnel and redeployed them to yet to be ascertained location. We strongly believe the decision wouldn’t have been unconnected with the perversive, unnecessary interference and undue favouritism commonly practised in the Nigerian decaying system”.
The governor, however, explained that the earlier withdrawal of troops was tactical in order to restrategize, corroborating what his Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel-Berje said, which appeared to be at variance with what the State commissioner Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Internal Security, Hon Emmanuel Bagna Umar said.
Umar had debunked the withdrawal of security personnel from Galadiman Kogo during an interview with journalists in Minna.
The group also insisted that the mention of Galape and Kudodo communities spoke volumes about the Government’s ignorance about the geography of Shiroro LG, which might have been one of the numerous reasons behind the escalating woes.
“Both Galape and Kudodo are not in Allawa District as claimed and contained in the press statement, but in Galadima Kogo District.
” A Government that cannot reconcile its differences and discrepancies should not be taken seriously. It’s glaring that the Government has lost contact with available reality if the content of the press statement under review is anything to go by. The said press statement in its entirety is watery, twisted, disjointed and misleading,” they maintained.
Also, reacting to the comment of Governor Bello, Comrade Jibrin Allawa, President Lakpma Youths Assembly said the Government was not telling the truth on the matter.
According to him,”That’s a typical lie, the locals are cooperating with the security and are providing them with information.
“I think the State government is only trying to dodge the blame for failing to live up to their responsibility. We are calling on the government to rise up to its responsibility and defend the villagers that are currently helpless.”
Meanwhile, an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart and former Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism in Niger State, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has urged President Muhammad Buhari to stop playing politics with security challenges confronting the State, adding that the State was under siege.
“The situation in Niger State is worse than what was experienced during the Nigerian civil war. I strongly appeal to President Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, match his words with action. The villagers are helpless; government needs to flush out the terrorists out of the state,” the former State Publicity Secretary of APC advised.