The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday tore into shreds, a federal government initiative, which supported reabsorbing criminals dubbed ‘repentant bandits and terrorists’ into the system, saying his government did not believe there was any phenomenon so identified.
According to the northwest governor, no legitimate government could survive, tolerating terrorists or negotiating with those, who constituted menace to law-abiding citizens.
Speaking yesterday after receiving the annual security report for 2021, at the Government House, Kaduna, El-Rufai said any person, who made a conscious decision to secure arms, challenge the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten the lives and property of Nigerians, did not deserve to live or be granted any concession by the society.
The governor, however, appealed to the federal government to create a theatre command similar to the situation in the North-East to confront the insurgency that has emerged in five states of the North-West and Niger state.
This was because according to the report presented by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affair, Samuel Aruwan, a total of 1,192 people were reportedly killed in the year under review while 3,348 others were kidnapped by bandits across the state.
According to El-Rufai, “The creation of such a Theatre Command will enable holistic approach to counter-insurgent operations across the six affected states and the enhanced coordination of the resources of the armed forces, the police, the SSS, our respective state vigilance Services, hunters and other local volunteers to fight the insurgents.”
While calling for urgent national effort to strengthen the security forces and stressing that the military as well as the police needed modern technology, advanced armaments, equipment and more boots on the ground, the governor maintained that the security of communities depended on the robust projection of state power, which could only be done with sufficient security personnel to subdue and deter criminals.
“The prerogatives of the state need to be asserted, not merely proclaimed. The people we put in uniform must never be placed in avoidable danger, outgunned or outnumbered by non-state actors. It is when the terrorists are decimated that ‘soft’, non-kinetic peace building will gain traction.
“While the security agencies keep trying their best, the peacemakers on the ground should not be discouraged. Peace is worth every effort, despite the setbacks encountered. We’ll continue to emphasise that as a state government; we do not believe that there is any phenomenon like ‘repentant bandits’.
“Any person that makes a conscious decision to secure arms, challenge the authority of the Nigerian state, and threatens the lives and property of Nigerians does not deserve to live, or be granted any concession by the society. There are no immediate or remote causes to justify terrorist conduct.
“Those that hide behind these are either ethnic jingoists, religious apologists or fail to recognise that no legitimate government can survive by tolerating terrorists or negotiating with those that menace law-abiding citizens.”