- The conversation on whether the federal government should negotiate with bandits is still on
- The National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) has shared his thoughts on the issue
- Monguno said the government won't be cowed into negotiations with the bandits especially as their grouses are not legitimate
Nigeria's National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) has restated that the federal government won't negotiate with bandits.
Monguno made the comment on Thursday, March 11 during an interaction with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Legit.ng monitored the interaction via a live feed from YouTube.
According to him, the bandits do not have any legitimate reason for carrying out their attacks on local communities in the north-west and north-central regions of the country.
“These are not people looking for anything that is genuine or legitimate, they’re just out to take calculated measures to inflict pain and violence on innocent people. We must deal with them the way they need to be dealt with. We will fully assert the government’s will.
“While government is not averse to talking with these entities, it also has to fully apply its weight. You can’t negotiate with people who are unreliable and who will continue to hurt society. We will apply the full weight of the government to deal with these criminals.
“We are also focusing on the associated dimensions of the banditry and terrorism: Illegal drugs, the flow of small arms and light weapons, and Illegal mining in places like Zamfara. These are some of the scenarios fueling the violence, and we are already tackling them decisively.
“The president’s view and directive is that we will not engage mercenaries when we have our own people to deal with these problems. We have the personnel and resources, and the president has given a new lease of life to the armed forces.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of 15 northern-based civil society organisations on Wednesday, March 3 accused some northern governors of turning the rising cases of kidnapping and banditry in the region into money-spinning ventures.
The groups under the umbrella of Non-State Actors Consultative Forum (NOSACOF) made the accusation at a press briefing in Kano state.
Speaking at the briefing, the co-convener of the coalition, Mr Ibrahim Waiya, alleged that political actors in north Nigeria have devised a new strategy to swindling public resources through negotiation with bandits.
Similarly, a foremost non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, Connected Development, CODE, has described as worrisome and an indictment on the country's democracy; the spate of abductions of school children in recent times.
The organisation, in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Wednesday, March 3 called on the federal government to urgently deploy measures to protect children and ensure schools are safe for learning.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.