Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state said Friday that some politicians are responsible for the rising cases of banditry in some parts of the country.
The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
He said those responsible for the crime are bent on bringing down the government in power.
He said there was the need for all Nigerians to rise up against acts of violence by some politicians.
“Those funding this banditry are politicians, which I challenge and call on security agencies to make their names available to the Press because what they want to do is to distract a government that is focused.
“If this government is not doing well, I’ll be one of those that would have declared that the government is not doing well, but a situation where you’ll live the formal way, ethical way of doing politics, and you are now sponsoring banditry to bring down a government, for Christ’s sake, we should rise up and condemn it, all of us,” he said.
The governor said the unity of Nigeria cannot be compromised for whatever reasons, stressing that calls for secession should be discarded by the government and all Nigerians.
He said Nigeria is well endowed, and called on the citizens to be united to reap the benefits of such endowments.
“I don’t think that I will support any call for secession, I want a united, strong Nigeria. Our strength is in our diversity and today, we are supposed to play a leading role in this continent.
“We don’t want to whittle down our strength. Rather, what I advise is that we must appreciate the gift of nature, in our land and the support government. This country is blessed by God.
“From 2015 till today, I thought what the problem would be is people saying that whether there’s no job creation, people are not feeding, salaries are not paid, infrastructure is going down, social interventions are not approved by government.
“These things are available; a pass mark for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Now, people are no longer talking about that, rather what they are doing is to sponsor crisis.
“I know the genuine interests of the President for Nigerians, I have had series of discussions and at every given time I’ve asked for one intervention or the other, it is given to me and it is for the interest of my people. But then, for those things to function, we need an enabling environment. That is why the enemies of progress, not deterred by the progress the government is making, are now out to scuttle good governance
“Opposition and politics are about the people. Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the paper. Why are people hiring people to kill the people? There is no responsible government that will not want those who voted him or her to power to be happy and this government, as I have seen, is a responsible government.
“This party, APC, is a responsible party. That is why some of us are members of this party and we promised that we’ll deliver to our people, and I’m committed that this government will deliver. However, I think we are rising to the occasion. I can tell you that sooner than later, today will become a thing of the past and Nigeria will move forward,” he said.
The governor said some of the people attacking security formations in Imo state are not indigenes, stressing that 50 persons have been arrested in connection with the crime.
“As at the last count, we arrested almost 40 to 50 people, who also made useful statements and confessed to the crime.
“I continue to tell you that this issue of banditry is something that we must all rise up as people to condemn and then support security agencies to be able to provide an enabling environment for people to go about their businesses, without fear of any molestation.
“The job of security of a country cannot be left to security agencies alone. The job requires the citizenry to support security agencies through intelligence gathering, also government at all levels, including traditional leaderships, to support government because the bandits stay among us, the criminals live among us and if we’re not in position to report them, or report their activities to security agencies, then we are undoing ourselves.
“So, I encourage everybody to see this as a collective challenge that all of us must join hands; whether you are from the local government, community level, to state, up to federal government, we must join hands because we don’t have another country.
“The only country we can beat our chests and call our own is Nigeria and we must work towards ensuring that the integrity of our country, the security situation in our country, is such that allows people, residents and citizens to go about their businesses without the fear of molestation,” he said.