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Create jobs to end banditry, defence minister charges govs, others

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Bashir Magashi

The Defence Minister, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), has challenged state governors and other political office holders to tackle the increasing level of poverty and unemployment, by creating jobs, to check insecurity in the country.

Speaking with journalists in Kano at the weekend, shortly after revalidating his All Progressives Congress (APC) membership at Galandanci Ward, Gwale Council, Magashi identified poverty and unemployment as major causes of kidnapping and other crimes.

According to him, it behoves political leaders to provide enabling environment to gainfully engage the increasing jobless youths in the land.

He said: “Governors and other political office-holders must go back to their localities and fight poverty through creation of employment opportunities to stop banditry and other security issues being experienced in the hinterlands.

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“I am the Minister of Defence and the defence of this country is entirely my responsibility. We have the mandate to ensure that the life and property of people are protected. I will also refer you to the promise Mr. President made to Nigerians in 2015, that is, security, economy and corruption. If in the process, the policy has had some people who think that they should be given independence to do what they want, to bring this country down, so be it.”

The retired general vowed not to sit down and watch people talk the way they like.

“Let all the governors do their own obligations. They have so many things that they can do to stop this banditry and other security issues. Let all political office holders go back to their people and see what is happening there. There is poverty, neglect, no school, no healthcare centres.

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“So, if they can concentrate on that alone, I think the nation will be better off. But, certainly, I admire the governors saying their minds. But we will all analyse it and come up with their ideas, so that the Federal Government will remain neutral on every issue that will divide this country. We will not be agents that will divide this country.”

On the strength of the military to combat terrorism, Magashi said that Nigerian forces had made significant progress since the war against Boko Haram began in the North East.

The minister, who affirmed that it could be difficult to measure of success in the war against insurgency at a give pace, urged Nigerians to realise that the war in the North East was not the conventional fight.

“Since 2015, we have been making progress. You remember where we met this country; almost 20 councils in the North East were under Boko Haram. Eventually, we tried and Nigerians appreciated our efforts. But when things were turning, we all remain passive; we don’t want to know anything, but victory.

“To be honest, the role of the armed forces and other security agencies is really very encouraging; and we implore Nigerians to encourage us to do more.”

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