While the Plateau State governor, and chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, NGF, Simon Lalong, was busy attending the declaration of the minister of transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi for presidency in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, his state was under attack by bandits who invaded and abducted the family of one of his commissioners.
According to reports, the heavily armed bandits stormed the home of the commissioner for environment, Usman Bamaiyi, in the early hours of Saturday, taking away his wife and daughter. Bamaiyi’s residence is located in Gindiri Community of Mangu local government area of the state, which had been prone to bandits’ attacks. It could not be ascertained if the commissioner was at home when the hoodlums struck, or he was with his principal in Port Harcourt. Bamaiyi is a strong contender for the Mangu\Bokkos House of Representatives seat in 2023 on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in the state.
This attack came less than one week after the son of a serving commissioner was killed by suspected bandits, and barely a week after two pastors were seized by the rampaging bandits. Sometime in December 2021, suspected bandits had kidnapped the paramount ruler of Gindiri, Charles Mato Dakota, at his palace, and was freed after allegedly paying about N20 million ransom.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the Plateau State Police Command, Ubah Agabah, a deputy superintendent of police, DSP, stated that the security men on guard duty at the commissioner’s residence were overpowered by the bandits following a gun battle, thereby gaining access into the compound. Agabah said operatives were already on the trail of the kidnappers to ensure safe rescue of the abductees.
In his solidarity message at the Rivers State APC thanksgiving service and reception for Amaechi, during which the transportation minister formally declared his intention to succeed incumbent president, Mohammadu Buhari, Governor Lalong, who wore several caps at the event, said he was representing the NGF, the Progressive Governors’ Forum, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, as well as the people of Plateau State. He stated that with Amaechi’s title as the Dan Amanar Daura in northern region, “that is to say he is somebody in whom we are very comfortable”.
Taking his audience down memory lane, Lalong said “The journey started from here. I am very excited today because six years ago, when we started APC, we came to this stadium, and we launched the zonal campaign. That zonal campaign produced a brand new president for this country. And you (Amaechi) also led the campaign. We came back again, and they said the only person that will lead the campaign again is an illustrious son of Rivers State. He led another campaign, and we produced another president in Muhammadu Buhari. Today, the APC government is thriving”.
Taunting the opposition in the state, Governor Lalong stated that “When we were told on television that there is no APC in Rivers State, I am sure what we are seeing today, many people will not sleep in their houses because God is wonderful. Some people will say they want to take it by force. In APC, we will not take it by force; we would consider the grace of God, and that grace of God is the one that is working in Chibuike Amaechi running”.
While positing that the thanksgiving had “vindicated many people”, Lalong prayed for the will of God to be done.