The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to negotiate with bandits and kidnappers to end insecurity in the country.
Speaking in an interview with DailyTrust, the spokesperson of the group, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the Nigerian military is not winning the battle against bandits.
He noted that negotiations and amnesty may be viable options to end insurgency and banditry.
Asked what he would say to Buhari if he gets the opportunity to meet the president, Baba-Ahmed stated that he would advise him to understand how bandits drop cattle herding to take up arms against the Nigerian state
“I will say, open up and understand the magnitude of the problem; it is huge. We have thousands of criminals armed to their teeth in our forests, cities, and highways that are daily making Nigeria insecure,” he said.
“The second thing I will say to him is, think outside the box, get people who can tell you how we woke up in 2021 with a problem of this magnitude. When you came to power sir, banditry and kidnapping were virtually unknown.
“Something happened, a large part of the insecurity we are witnessing now has deep roots in history and society and the manner in which governance has been taking place in the last few years.
“Huge numbers of cattle rustled, injustice, state agents using strong-arm tactics, pushing more and more Fulani into criminality, you need to hear those narratives.
“We are not giving excuses to criminal bandits and kidnappers, but you need to understand how it is that these people got converted from just herding cattle to now holding huge territory and threatening the Nigerian state.
“So, I will further say to him, shouldn’t you actually sit down with these bandits…to drop their weapons and be reintegrated? Because it doesn’t look like the military option is entirely winning. This is a problem that mutates and they have got the terrain, and we don’t have the military or policemen to protect every school, town or village.
“So, you must try other options, and those options must accept some level of concession to other ways that have been tried and tested in many parts of the country and the world.”
Source: Naija News