By Wole Mosadomi
The ongoing dialogue initiated by the Niger State government to put a stop to the ongoing banditry, cattle rustling, kidnappings and other related violence in the state has started yielding good results as 27 members of such deadly groups have down their arms and seize fire.
This success story came as a result of the ongoing dialogue entered into by the Niger government and leaders of the bandits.
The State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello who made this known at the General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture held at Justice Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre,Minna,Niger State yesterday said, “the negotiation had been going on with the bandits about two years ago before the success story being made known to the world today”.
“We have a group of people in this hall today who had been in conflict with both government and the people of the state using arms to unleash terror on innocent people, killing, maiming, dispossessing innocent villagers of the properties.
“We have used Military to suppress this violence but it failed before but today, the success story has come through dialogue and twenty-seven members of the bandits have surrendered and ready to be reintegrated back into the society.
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“This set has been operating in Kotonkoro Community in Mariga Local government area of the State and since they seized fire, peace had returned to the Communities within and outside the area,” the Governor declared.
Governor Bello further said,” during the dialogue, the bandits mentioned their grievances and we signed a Peace Pact with them and they have agreed not to go back to the dastardly act again.”
Bello said such hand of dialogue will be extended to other bandits in the State especially those operating in Pandogari, Erena, Sarkin Pawa among others for lasting peace.
The former bandits who were gaily dressed in the same uniform and full of excitement were publicly presented to the large crowd in the hall with a prolonged ovation by all to “welcome” them back to the society they belong.