Former Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator David Umaru, has insisted that 69 people were killed by armed bandits in the recent Shiroro attack.
The lawmaker, who was recently sacked by the Supreme Court, said that the state government was lying about the figure of casualties.
He said the government was not being truthful to the people.
Umaru said this in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Minna.
“For avoidance of doubt, I still reecho it that not less than 69 people were killed by the bandits, several injured and cattle rustled.
“Out of this number 55 bodies have been found whilst the search for the remaining bodies continues,” the statement read in part.
He went on to describe the statement made by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Security, Government House, Alhaji Aliyu Isah Ekan, as libellous
“My attention has been drawn to a libellous statement made by one Alhaji Aliyu Isah Ekan, the Permanent Secretary (Cabinet & Security), Government House, making some spurious allusions on my person regarding the death toll that resulted from the attack on my people by bandits.
“Ordinarily I would have kept mute because of the pain in me for the grave loss we suffered as a people in this carnage since I hail from Kwaki district of Shiroro LGA.
“For any serious and concerned government, this should have been a period of mourning; a time for introspection and strategizing to be proactive so as to forestall further and future occurrences instead of indulging in pettiness.
“To accuse me of attempting “to make Niger state look unsafe in the eyes of the world” is idle talk. The world already knows that some parts of Niger state are unsafe particularly areas in Shiroro LGA, Rafi and Munya LGAs and that the State Government has not shown any seriousness in addressing the problem.
“It is gruesomely wicked for the government to be claiming that the lives lost are 12 and 22 injured when even its own agency, Niger State emergency management agency as at Monday 10th June 2019 gave the figure of the dead they had already counted to be above 40 and still counting.
“The government’s seeming official position, coming even after the affected villagers presented casualty figures to the deputy governor during a visit to Erena and Kuta shows the low-level officials could descend in their attempt to cover up facts that are already in public domain.
“It is such gross insincerity and deceit that beclouds the government functionaries of the state that continuously hinder prompt and concerted effort to deal decisively with the onslaught of the criminals.
“How can one explain a Permanent Secretary of the state Govt saying that the gunmen were there to attack cows and not villagers and who told him that? Was he there during the attack? Is he now their spokesperson trying to justify their actions?
“It is rather unfortunate that the state government, instead of owning up on its ineptitude and insensitivity to the plight of my people for more than two years now rather have chosen the path of unprovoked, malicious attempt to malign my name.”
“The choice of this path by the government is further proof that the lives of my people do not matter to it. The life of a single person should matter and its loss is regrettable and calls for serious concern.”