By John Shiklam
The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has again, reiterated his stand against negotiating with bandits who are terrorising the state.
Speaking in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), monitored on Monday, El-Rufai declared that any bandit arrested in Kaduna State will be killed, maintaining that “the state is at war with bandits”.
He also disagreed with suggestions by prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, that the bandits should be granted amnesty and compensated.
Gumi had recently visited the bandits in their forests in Kaduna and Zamfara States to broker peace.
El-Rufai, however, said he does not believe in what Gumi is doing because majority of the bandits don’t have any religion.
The governor maintained that Kaduna State is at war with the bandits, adding that eliminating them is the only solution to put an end to their criminality in the North-west region.
Kaduna has been worst hit by deadly activities of bandits occasioned by invasion and destruction of communities, killings and abductions for ransom.
On Saturday, 24 people were killed in an attack on communities in Birnin Gwari and Kajuru Local Government Areas of the state.
The governor told the BBC that Gumi is his close friend, adding that he told the Islamic cleric that majority of the bandits don’t believe in religion, the reason why they killed without mercy.
The governor had declared in March 2020, that his administration will not negotiate nor grant amnesty to bandits.
El-Rufai regretted that there is lack of unity among the North-west governors in addressing banditry, noting that some of the governors think dialoguing with the bandits is the solution to the problem while others don’t think so.
He said anybody who believes that a Fulani herdsman that is used to making millions of naira from kidnapping will stop is deceiving himself.
“We (governors in the North-west) are not united to work together to eliminate these bandits. We in Kaduna and Niger States are communicating on how to end this problem. We have been discussing with the Niger State governor.
“Anybody that thinks a Fulani herdsman that is engaged in kidnapping for ransom and is earning millions of naira would go back to his former life of getting N100,000 after selling a cow in a year, must be deceiving himself.
“Why should we compensate them after killing people, destroyed their houses? Who offended them?
“Ahmad Gumi is my friend and I told him my position when I discussed the issue with him,” El-Rufai said.
He said he told Gumi that “majority of the Fulani bandits don’t believe in religion and I don’t believe in what he is doing and I disagree with his suggestion that they should be forgiven and compensated”.