The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has called on the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to tag bandits as terrorists if that would put an end to killings in the northwest region.
Naija News reports that the National Assembly, Governors and other stakeholders are continuing to mount pressure of the present administration to declare bandits as terrorists so decisive actions can be carried out against them.
However, the federal government has continued to rebuff calls to tag them as such.
In a statement after its meeting held on Wednesday, through its spokesperson, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF decried the arguments over labelling bandits as terrorists, stressing that it wastes attention and energy.
The forum advised the government to explore all lawful means to bringing the menace of banditry to an end.
It said: “The Forum regrets that arguments over labelling bandits as terrorists wastes attention and energy.
“If labeling bandits as terrorists will substantially improve the capacity of the Nigerian state to eliminate this expanding scourge, the Forum supports it without reservation.
“In any case, all lawful options in bringing this menace to an end must be pursued. Measures put in place to contain its spread should be diligently monitored and evaluated, and those that merely worsen the condition of living of law-abiding population should be removed.
“Governments should be sensitive to the possibility of severe food shortage in the next few months in many Northern communities, in addition to escalating cost of living which will combine to confront the poor with intolerable conditions of living.”