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We received distress call about Bethel School Bandits’ invasion 1am – El-Rufai

…Says bandits ‘overwhelmed’ army.

…Condemns profiling bandits on ethnicity and religion. 

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Nasir El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Mall. Nasir El-Rufai, has said they received distress call about bandits’ invasion of Bethel Baptist High School around 1am on the fateful night.

The governor made the revelation as special guest of honour and guest speaker at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture and Awards ceremony of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) held on weekend in Kaduna State.

Represented by commissioner internal security and home affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, the governor, however, lamented that the bandits came in hundreds and ‘overwhelmed’ the security they deployed to scene and even killed two soldiers.

Earlier, NIPR, chairman, Mallam Bashir Chedi, re-echoed El-Rufai’s slogan, that, “bandits terrorising Nigeria have lost their rights to life under the constitution and must be wiped out.”

NIPR chairman also quoted El-Rufai as saying that, “The bandits are at war with Nigeria and there’s no other way to approach the current insurgence but for the security forces to take the war to the bandits and recover the forests where they are occupying.”

Mallam Bashir Chedi, however, stated that, as public relations professional practitioners and scholars, there could be divergent views and perspective as opposed to Governor El-Rufai’s position; hence, the need for the lecture.

According to Mallam Chedi, the NIPR organised the lecture with the purpose to raise the bar in the realm of numerous discourses on the security situation that would hopefully proffer remedies to reverse the current predicament in north and Nigeria in general.

“We received distress call about 1am and we quickly deployed security to the area. The bandits came in hundreds, overwhelmed our security and even two soldiers lost their lives.

“Bandits are criminal. There’s no basis to identify bandits with ethnicity or region; at best they are called criminals and represent criminal elements.

“Yes, there are deviant herders, who destroy farm crops and fight with farmers when they talk to them. They are herders’ criminal elements. Some media reports about violence and say herdsmen attack is wrong,” El-Rufai said.

He also justified the reasons for giving security update on daily account of attacks and killing of people in state, attributing it to the importance government attached to human life, as well as to avoid feasting on it by wrong people feeding audience with wrong information of numbers of casualty figures.

Personalities, including ACF, Zazzau Emir Representatives as well as publisher of Blueprint Newspapers and Niger State Governorship hopeful in 2021, who supported El-Rufai on challenges faced by the military in covering Birnin Gwari Forest, because of the size, graced the occasion held at Sir Ahmed Bello Memorial Foundation, Kaduna.

Kaduna State chapter of NIPR held its AGM at the end of the lectures and elected its new executive officials with a female member, Hajiya Jemila Dahiru Mohammed (Secretary) clinching the position of Assistant Secretary.

It’s recalled that 63 Bethel Baptist School students kidnapped are still in bandits’ captivity hitherto.

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