By Ibrahim Bello
Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, has vowed to lead hunters and vigilantes in the battlefield against bandits ravaging the state.
He also joined his counterpart in Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to charged the hunters and vigilantes to be ready to defend the territories of states against frequent attacks by bandits.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governors stated this on Saturday in Birnin Kebbi while addressing hundreds of local hunters and vigilance groups from different parts of the state.
The groups had converged on the state capital to declare their readiness to wage war against bandits.
Bagudu, in an emotion laden-voice, told the hunters that he and other governors were ready to be on the battle fields to defend the lives of the people, their property and territories of the nation.
“We are not military yet and we are not police. We commend and respect what the security agencies for what they are doing and they are doing a great job; but, sometimes, remember security agents are human beings.
“They also want the community support; they want the support from the vigilantes. So, if we can go to electioneering campaign rallies and gather 100,000 people, what has taken place in Birnin Yauri should be the last strike.
“We should follow these bandits wherever they are and deal with them all. And I call on all my colleagues in other states too, to do same. How many are they (bandits)? How many of us can they kill?
“So, we will discuss with the security agencies so that we don’t interfere in the commendable jobs they are doing. But we will go out there, like I promised you; on the day we move out, I will not be in office; I will join you in the field.
“And I am sure other governors will be leading their people so that we can all meet in the fields. It is not the weapons that win the war, it is the will of the people. Bad people cannot trample upon the will of good people, and we will show them that we have the will power,” he charged.
Bagudu also commended President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies for doing their best with limited resources, stressing the need for the people to mobilise themselves and take on the bandits.
“Yes, we are afraid of death; nobody wants to die. But who will not die? We are afraid not to be hurt, but who will not be hurt?
“Which one is more tragic? To die like a coward. I think that should be the greatest fear; or to die without faith?
“Because, as the people of faiths, we know that our Scriptures, both Christians and Muslims, especially Muslims, Islam teaches us to put our lives at risk in defending our honours, or our property or our faith.
“In all what these bandits are doing to us, they have challenged our faiths, our property and our honours and we can’t allow them to go.
“So, go back to your communities and mobilise your people because I will get clearance from the security and we will meet them on the field,” the governor urged.
In his remarks, Fayemi, who is also Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), charged the hunters and people of the state to use all power within their possession to end bandits attack in the state.
He said: “Our governor (Bagudu) has put on a good fight. That is the demonstration of his commitment to the welfare of his people.
“We know, we would overcome these challenges. There are lessons from it, for our own states too; where we have Federal Government Colleges, and we have ordinary schools belonging to the state.
“And we must protect our children, we must protect our people because our first job as the governors is the security and welfare of our people.
“God Almighty will be with us to realise the objective of protecting our people, in sha Allahu,” Fayemi said.
Speaking earlier, Jigawa Gov. Abubakar Badaru, who also accompanied Fayemi, charged the local hunters to use all power within their possession to rescue and defeat bandits terrorising the state.