Stakeholders in Niger State have condemned the increasing tide of kidnaps and banditry attacks on communities in the state and other parts of the country.
The coalition of youth groups, civil society organizations, religious leaders amongst others in the state have also decried the recent kidnap of travellers and students.
They have urged the state government to wake up from slumber and tackle the situation before it gets out of hand in the once acclaimed most peaceful and hospitable state in Nigeria.
The coalition led by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Niger State Chapter, Comrade Bello Barau Sheriff at a press conference on Saturday lamented what they described as ‘security quagmire’ the state has been thrown into.
The other groups include the Youth Lead Nigeria Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), the Blue Resolution Initiative (TBRi), Niger State Students in Diaspora, Concerned Shiroro Youths, Minna Emirate Youth Association, and the National Associations of Nigerian Students
They complained that in one breath, the Governor expressed disinclination to negotiate with bandits but in another breath, the Secretary to the State Government was advancing talks with bandits on behalf of the Governor with a view to negotiating Niger State out of the situation.
According to them, “Today in Niger State, not less than 10 LGAs are either facing kidnapping or banditry of various forms. This is becoming unbearable and unacceptable, the reason why we are all out to raise our lofty voices and charge the state government to sit up and face the business of securing lives and properties which it has sworn to protect.’
Comrade Sheriff claimed that the policy summersault of Niger State Government in this precarious situation is worrisome.
Against this backdrop, the groups came up with a 13 point demand among which include the release of the kidnapped students and passengers of the NSTA bus.
The Government should provide adequate security to all communities, schools and other soft targets within the shortest period of time.
Local vigilantes should be inculcated into conventional military forces with a view of deploying them to provide security for their communities.
The Governor should personally visit all Internally Displaced Person camps in the State within Seven (7) days.
The Federal Government should without further hesitation declare a state of emergency on security.
The group further warned that a failure to meet the demands, they would be forced to explore the option of “Grand protest” tagged “Occupy Niger”.