Negotiating with bandits'll encourage kidnapping – Experts


Security experts have called on the Federal Government to take decisive actions against bandits terrorising residents in the North-West and other parts of the country, rather than negotiate with the criminals.

They said negotiating with bandits would encourage them to continue to carry out attacks, including kidnapping more schoolchildren.

They also lamented that the bandits had been treated with kid gloves, despite the spate of killings and the abduction of unsuspecting Nigerians, including schoolchildren.

Gunmen suspected to be bandits had on Friday morning abducted over 300 schoolgirls at Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in the Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

The Zamfara incident happened days after over 40 students and workers of Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State, were kidnapped by gunmen on February 17, 2021.

On December 11, 2020, over 300 schoolboys from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State, were abducted bandits.

Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, a former director of the Department of State Services, Mr Mike Ejiofor, said the government had not shown the political will to deal decisively with the bandits.

“What I am saying is that the government, especially the state governments in the North-West, has been treating these people (bandits) with kid gloves. As long as they continue to deal with them, negotiating, it will encourage them to carry out more kidnappings. So, we are most likely going to witness more kidnapping of schoolchildren.

“I believe that the Federal Government should just take the initiative and deal decisively with the people. No doubt, there will be collateral damage but we cannot continue,” Ejiofor said.

On the statement by an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abmad Gumi, that the bandits should not be addressed as criminals, Ejiofor said, “Why should such a statement come from a cleric? Who is a bandit? Banditry is organised crime, involving robbery, kidnapping and extortion. What other name will you call them, if they are not criminals? A bandit is a criminal.”

On his part, a security consultant and fellow, Institute of Security, Mr Chigozie Ubani, urged the Federal Government to deal with the bandits according to the Constitution.

“What the government should do is to deal decisively with bandits, insurgents, militants or whatever name they want to run by, according to the statutes. There are laws guiding this country, so they should deal with these people according to the laws of the land,” Ubani added.

He also called on the government to develop and exhibit the capacity to deal with criminals to serve as deterrent to others.

He said, “All around the Sahel region, there are militants, people, mercenaries who want to fight wars and they are drifting towards Nigeria, and we have raised this intelligence for a very long time and the government does not want to do anything about it. If they want to pamper these people (bandits), let them pamper them, but Nigeria will not accommodate all of them if the bubble bursts. That is the fact about it.” -Punch.

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