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Niger: Vatsa condemns attempt on senator’s life

From John Adams, Minna

As reactions continue to trail the attack on the residence of Senator Sani Musa (APC – Niger East), a former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Jonathan Vatsa, has condemned the attempt, describing it as a dangerous dimension to the fragile peace in the state following the reduction in the bandit and terrorist activities in the state.

The former commissioner said that last Saturday’s attack on the senator’s residence is not only worrisome but a dangerous signal in the build-up to the 2023 general elections

Vatsa, reacting to Saturday night invasion which the police said was targeted at the senator, said in a statement in Minna on Wednesday that the attack should be condemned by all well-meaning people of the state, adding that “it is coming when the people of the state are beginning to heave a sigh of relief due to the reduction in the activities of armed bandits and other terrorists in the state.”

Although the actual motives of those who invaded the senator’s residence are not yet clear, the former publicity secretary of APC in the state pointed out that whatever their mission, a thorough investigation must be carried out by the police to unmask those behind the invasion.

According to him, “from the police preliminary investigations it is cleared that the senator was their target, whether they were there to assassinate or kidnap him, what we are interested in is that the full weight of the law must be applied.”

The Coordinator on Public Affairs to the state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello disagreed with the claim by the suspects in their earlier confessional statement that they were sent by a whistleblower, saying that “do whistleblowers now carry guns in the country?

“If it is established that they were kidnappers, then the law against kidnapping in the state which was signed by the governor must be applied.”

He warned that any attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet will send a wrong signal to the public, adding that “that means nobody is longer safe in the state. Anybody can be a victim.”

Meanwhile, the state Police Command has given an update on the attack on the senator’s residence, saying that the senator was the target of the suspects but did not say what they wanted to achieve from targeting him.

According to a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, one of the suspects was said to have confessed that they targeted the senator at his home in Minna.

The statement reads in part; “Niger State Police Command wishes to state that additional facts emerged in the course of the investigation, as one of the suspects confessed further that the hoodlums led by the said Sherrif, presently at large targeted the Senator to his home in Minna.

“The hoodlums suspected that he could be at home, having attended a coronation ceremony at Kagara on the same date and possibly kidnap him.

“Fortunately, the gang met his absence, broke into the house and ransacked the residence in the presence of the purported search execution in the residence”.

Days after the invasion of his residence, the senator is yet to comment on the incident nor make any statement through his media aide.

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