Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has knocked the federal government for saying that it was not responsible for the prosecution of kidnappers and bandits.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had said that it was not the responsibility of the federal government to prosecute suspected kidnappers and bandits.
Responding to statements credited to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party on the security challenges facing the country, Mohammed said kidnapping and banditry were not federal offences.
According to the minister, “The PDP alleged that kidnappers and bandits are not being brought to justice. This is
apparently aimed at the Federal Government.
“It is shocking that a party that ruled this nation for all of 16 years does not know that kidnapping and banditry are not federal offences.
“The PDP should therefore call out the states, including those being controlled by it, to ensure a rigorous prosecution of arrested kidnappers and bandits.
“Meanwhile, PDP conveniently forgot that as far as terrorism, a federal offence, is concerned, this Federal Government has successfully prosecuted thousands of Boko Haram members in Kainji, as part of a continuing exercise. We are now seeking the cooperation of the judiciary to continue with the trial of arrested terrorists.”
Okowa, in a statement on Tuesday evening by his Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, berated the federal government for shifting its responsibilities to state governors.
The statement reads: “We understand that terrorism is not a small crime; it’s a crime against the nation, not even the particular state where it happens. So we want to believe that maybe the man is being misquoted.
“The Federal Government cannot say they are not in a position to do so. What is most important, even beyond the prosecution, is to prevent because the prosecution is when it has happened. What we are saying is that as a government, what do we do to ensure that there is no terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and all that in our country?
“For us, that is much more important than the issue of who prosecutes who. If we are able to bring back our country to the path of peace like it used to in the 80s and 90s; it will be better for all of us, both those at the federal and the state levels.
“So, we all must be put hands together to ensure that terrorism, banditry and kidnapping are wiped out of our country.
“For those of us who are at the state level, we have a responsibility when there is information to give to Intelligence if it is available to us but we do know that the security of the nation at that level is highly much more with the central government.”