IG Justifies Negotiations with Bandits

Mohammed Adamu,
Mohammed Adamu
  • Says it’s war strategy

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, Thursday in Abuja explained why security operatives opted to enter into negotiations with bandits recently, insisting that if peaceful initiative can restore peace, the use of force will no longer be necessary.

He cited how militancy in the Niger Delta 10 years ago had initially defied solution until amnesty was adopted as a strategy, which put paid to the menace.

The IG stated this while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House.

The council is made up of service chiefs, the IG, National Security Adviser and heads of other security outfits.

According to him, dialogue can be an impetus for peace, noting that what the council did was only to make allusion to the adoption of Amnesty in the Niger Delta and the attendant peace that followed.

“It is like comparison per se but giving an example how a negotiation and dialogue can bring peace. Even in terms of war, you go into dialogue so as to achieve certain levels of peace. That is what I am trying to say. So, if dialogue can bring peace, why do you have to use force? That is what I am just trying to say,” he said.

Adamu who further argued that there are various factors usually put into consideration while considering peace initiative, remarked that in the pursuit of something, something has to be let go.

He further said whereas this peace initiative had not started, peaceful negotiation is a well-known strategy even during wars, explaining however, that it is not a guarantee that if a bandit goes into crime after peaceful negotiation, he will not be accordingly punished.

He also said 20 close circuit televisions had been installed in different parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to expose criminal activities and are being monitored every day with more to be installed.

“When we are talking about peace initiative, there are a lot of things that we take into consideration. You give out something to get something. And this peace initiative has not started with the bandits in the North-western part of this country with the bandits. If you remember, some years back, we were having issues in the Niger Delta and actions taken could not solve the problem until amnesty and peace initiative came up and what we had had in Niger Delta had gone.

“So, I think part of strategy to deal with challenges in terms of either security or war, is peaceful negotiation too. So, it is not that if you are a bandit and in the course of the banditry you commit crime, you must be punished when there is peace initiative going on. If you refuse to accept the peace initiative, of course, you have to face the consequences.

“Currently, we have about 20 different points where we monitor on daily basis through CCTV Cameras within FCT and we are expanding it to cover the remaining areas. So, one of the strategies to stop all this type of crime whether it is car theft or burglary or anything that has to do with theft in the city is the use of CCTV and constant patrol for prevention,” he said.

The police boss also said members of the security apparatus recently visited the North-west zone during which they met with traditional rulers and members of the Miyetti Allah.

According to him, some bandits surrendered their arms following the meeting while some did not, disclosing that those who rejected the peace initiative, were identified along with their camps notably “on Abuja-Kaduna road and along Birnin Gwari Niger axis and we went to the camps of these kidnappers and we dislodged some of the camps.”

He said the numbers of the camps destroyed as well as the numbers of casualties recorded were reported to the council, saying some of those who refused the peace initiative relocated “and we are following those that have relocated to know the new location and also engage them.”

The IG also said at yesterday’s meeting, stocks of security situations in the country were taken and it was discovered that there was “a decrease in kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and even acts of cultism,” in the current quarter when compared with the previous quarters.

However, he said the president tasked members of the council to intensify further efforts because he wants to see a crime-free society.

“So, we have been charged to do more than what we are doing now in fact, in the whole of the country.”

Adamu also said Buhari charged them to beef up security around oil pipelines with a view to ensuring “that crude oil theft is stopped completely because the loss that the country is facing in that area is not tolerated.”