Many discernible minds regard Governor Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state’s statement to the effect that there are no such things as repentant bandits and that his administration’s policy is to send terrorists attacking innocent people to their creator to answer for their crimes against humanity as brutally frank and audacious.
The governor made the remarks during a press conference following a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja last week. “Nothing beats repentant terrorists,” he said. The only bandit who has repented is the one who has died. The state’s goal is to kill them (terrorists) and then let them go to see God.”
El-Rufa’i, who was accompanied by his Commissioner for Internal Security Samuel Aruwan, said the bandits’ whereabouts were not kept a secret, but that the military was aware of the potential for civilian casualties. “The state was helpless if the security forces couldn’t get to the bandits’ hideout.”
The governor stated that he requested the president’s intervention in order to increase the deployment of security forces and conduct a comprehensive operation.
He urged security agencies to carry out aggressive operations against terrorists, while also emphasizing the need for increased recruitment in the military and police, as a small number of people cannot effectively carry out operations in the 36 states of the union.
He listed Boko Haram elements, bandits, and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as those responsible for the country’s insecurity, noting that the court’s recent declaration of bandits as terrorists had given the military more power to wage war against them.
Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state has reportedly joined El-Rufa’i in opposing dialogue with armed bandits operating in the state and other North-western states. Masari was interviewed by DW Hausa radio on Sunday. He was responding to a divisive letter from notorious bandit Bello Turji, in which he requested dialogue with the government.
Turji requested dialogue and a ceasefire in an open letter to President Buhari, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, and the emir of Shinkafi. Some experts believed Mr Turji’s letter was a ruse to prevent airstrikes and military operations against his fighters.
Turji has carried out deadly attacks in eastern Sokoto and northern Zamfara states with the help of Halilu Sububu and other terror leaders. Governor Masari, who has previously engaged in talks with bandits, believes the time for a peace agreement has passed. Despite the fact that the letter was not addressed to him, the Katsina governor claimed Turji’s letter was not genuine.
“Dialogue? Who are you going to be with? What right does he have to speak of dialogue or a cease-fire? He is a deceiver. He is unable to inform us of the peace accord and dialogue. With whom are you going to sit and talk about a peace agreement? Masari reacted to Turji’s letter by saying, “In what capacity is he speaking and even calling for dialogue?”
“Go tell those he (Turji) killed their families to talk to him and see what happens.” And he’s putting conditions in place, but what kind of conditions is he putting in place and for what purpose? “He wants to talk, and he’s even putting some conditions in place,” the governor said.
Turji’s terror group is one of several that operate in the states of the North West and North Central.
As bandits, the groups attack communities at will, murdering and kidnapping residents. This year, such groups are thought to have killed over a thousand people. Despite the heavy deployment of security, their activities have continued.
El-statement Rufai’s comes on the heels of a peaceful protest in Zaria, Kaduna state, by a group of northern youth led by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to protest the incessant killings and kidnappings for ransom by bandits, particularly in the country’s northwestern zone. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Kwangila and trekked to the PZ area in the state’s Sabon Gari local government area.
They chanted various songs while carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “Zaria Peace Walk Against Insecurity,” “End insecurity,” “North is bleeding,” and “Secure North.” Comrade Sani Saed Al-Tukry, CNG Deputy Coordinator in-charge of the North-West, spoke to journalists about their mission, saying that the entire North is bleeding and that no one is safe.
He cited the Zaria-Kaduna road as an example of a strategic gateway to many states across the country that has become a hotbed of terrorism.
“It has been a tale of blood, tears, and gnashing of teeth,” Al-Tukry said, adding that “no day goes by without one unpalatable incident of kidnapping of innocent citizens with reckless abandon.”
They urged the federal government to direct security agencies to mount and sustain special operations on all roads, especially the Zaria-Kaduna, Kaduna-Abuja, Kaduna-Birnin Gwari-Niger, Birnin Gwari-Funtua-Katsina-Zanfara-Sokoto routes.
He went on to say that the terrorists’ enclave needed to be dismantled and that murderous elements needed to be eliminated or arrested so that they could face the full force of the law.
Governors El-Rufa’i and Masari appear to be frustrated with the security agencies’ inability to end the threat of banditry and kidnapping that is wreaking havoc in their respective states.
The governors, who have been duped by bandits seeking dialogue and amnesty only to return to the trenches as soon as possible, understand exactly where the shoe pinches. They are deserving of President Muhammadu Buhari’s attention.