Bandits are our children, Umahi's media aide gives clarification



From Francis Nwaze 

I have come across a report circulating on some sections of the media misrepresenting the statement of Governor Umahi, that “Bandits are our Children”, thereby making it look like the Governor said that he is the father of bandits.

It would be recalled that His Excellency, Engineer David Nweze Umahi during the presentation of 40 number Toyota Sienna buses and 20 Hilux Vans to Security Agencies to assist them in fighting insecurity, said he was ready to dialogue with the bandits to ascertain their grievances in a bid to resolve the insecurity in the state, after all, they were somebody's children.

Umahi during the presentation observed that Nigerian youths were aggrieved and leaders must find a way of engaging them to bring the current partial breakdown of law and order under control, adding that most of the demands of certain people in the south-east were legitimate and the leaders must sit down to discuss with them.

“I want to talk to the bandits and empower them as we cannot continue to kill ourselves and destroy public infrastructure, the bandits are our (referring to the leaders) children and I am pained when they or the security agencies are killed. I want to ascertain their grievances against the Ebonyi or federal government, collate the facts for discussions to commence. It’s time to engage. We must not continue to pretend that all is well. If we had engaged from the beginning, we will not be where we are now. Our youth are angry. The resources of our nation are the responsibility of all leaders to deploy rightly. I don’t believe that we are doing that.'

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that His Excellency the Governor was misunderstood by the purveyor of this misleading information.

First, as a Leader, you are the father of all citizens both the good, the bad and ugly and so it is not out of place for the Governor to admit that the bandits are their children, after all, they were all born by somebody.

Second, the bandits as they are called are citizens who reserve the right to protest whatever they deem inappropriate and so should be heard with the view to addressing their demands if they are genuine.

The development rather presents Governor Umahi as a true father who believes that a bad child should not be thrown away with the bathwater.

Come to think of it, the good intentions of Governor Umahi do not need to attract condemnation but plaudits for feeling the pains of the downtrodden in the Society.

However, Youths should as a matter of necessity heed the call of His Excellency by sheathing their swords and make themselves available for negotiations to meet their various yearnings and aspirations as a way of making Nigeria a better place for us all.

Francis Nwaze, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity wrote this on Monday, May 3, 2021.

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