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March 27, 2024

Negotiate with bandits, give them promising future – Shittu tells FG

Negotiate with bandits, give them promising future – Shittu tells FG

A former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has urged the Federal Government, FG to explore the approach of negotiation in its bid to deal with the crisis of banditry in Nigeria.

Shittu, a former minister in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday.

He said, “If I am in position, it is not too late to use non-kinetic measures in negotiating with bandits, giving them a promising future.

“Let us retain them. Many of them are very intelligent, many of them are able-bodied,” he added.

According to him, the military spending on equipment far outweighed the approach of negotiation.

The former minister lamented that millions of out-of-school children in Northern Nigeria have become a “production factory for banditry” in the country.

Shittu noted that the government should negotiate with bandits “for the purpose of resettling, rehabilitating and retraining them.”

He, however, said it is important that the government proffers lasting solution to the crisis of banditry “to ensure we have peace, to ensure that these people lay down their arms and ammunition and add value to their own lives and for them to also contribute to nation-building.”

He said the society had abandoned the bandits over the years, adding that the bandits are also citizens of Nigeria and they should be given a chance through training and de-radicalisation.

Shittu said, “The more skills you are able to give to the largest number of them, the less the propensity for them to go back (to crime) if they are assured that a promising future awaits them after going through the deradicalisation processes and skills’ training.

“At the end of the day, the amount of money we are spending on the Armed Forces to confront these people, it looks like their number is endless because in the bush we have have thousands of groups, particularly in the North-West and North-East.

“So, instead of wasting too much money on acquiring arms and ammunition, let us rearrange, let us find a way, after every war, there must still be coming to the round table, negotiate,” he said.

The minister said creation of state police would empower the governors the more and silence the local governments.

Recall that Nigeria has been witnessing an increasing spate of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and oil theft.

The crisis has led to killings and kidnappings of thousands of residents, travellers, including women and children.

But, President Bola Tinubu government maintained that the Federal Government won’t negotiate with bandits, despite making kidnapping-for-ransom an enterprise.

Recently, bandits abducted hundreds of residents, including 137 schoolchildren from Kuriga in Kaduna State.

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