Bashir Magashi, minister of defence, has urged Nigerians to defend themselves in the face of growing banditry in parts of the country.
Addressing journalists at the national assembly complex on Wednesday, the minister said victims of banditry should resist such attacks and let the criminals know that “even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves”.
He was responding to a question on the growing security situation in the country following incessant attacks by bandits across the north.
Hours before his remarks, bandits struck at the Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, Niger state, where they abducted more than 20 schoolchildren.
Magashi, however, wondered why people are “running from minor things like that”, in apparent reference to attacks by the bandits who he said sometimes carry only a few rounds of ammunition.
“Is it the responsibility of the military alone? It is the responsibility of everybody to keep alert and to find safety when necessary. But we shouldn’t be cowards,” the minister told reporters.
“At times, the bandits will only come with about three rounds of ammunition. When they fire shots, everybody runs. In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming for us.
“I don’t know why people are running from minor things like that. They should stand and let these people know that even the villagers have the competency and capability to defend themselves.”
Magashi, however, added that the military will always ensure that “no Nigerian is hurt”.
He said although the security agencies are “so stretched”, they remain “capable of protecting the integrity of this nation and will continue to do it.”