Coalition Accuses Northern Govs of Fueling Kidnapping to Divert Public Funds

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By Ibrahim Shuaibu

A coalition of 15 northern-based civil society organisations (CSOs) yesterday in Kano, Kano State, accused some northern governors of allegedly turning the rising cases of kidnapping and banditry in the region to money spinning ventures.

The groups under the umbrella of Non-State Actors Consultative Forum (NOSACOF) also kicked against Governors of Zamfara and Katsina States, and other elites in the North calling for negotiation with terrorists as an alternative to military intervention to end insecurity in the country.

Addressing journalists in Kano yesterday on the state of insecurity in northern Nigeria, the Co-convener of coalition, Mr. Ibrahim Waiya, alleged that political actors in the North have devised a new strategy to swindling public resources through negotiation with bandits.

Waiya stressed that the new trend being orchestrated to undermine the national security architecture and efforts of the military to stop the invasion of terrorists may spell dome for the country if not quickly addressed.

He also condemned the action of the governors, “who are granting amnesty to bandits, terrorists and abductors,” insisted that such action was clearly an act of legitimising terrorism in the country.

The co-convener disclosed that the forum was discontented with the huge resources that exchange hands between politicians and the bandits in the name of ransom, adding that the governors have failed to address poverty and joblessness which remain the
root cause of insecurity in the North.

He contended that paying bandits ransom was the same as empowering the terrorists with public funds to purchase more sophisticated weapons against the state.

The groups accused political actors in the North of allegedly launching a campaign of calumny against the personality of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammad Buhari, Major-General Mohammad Babagana Manguno (rtd), because of his vehement disapproval of negotiating with bandits.

Although the groups insisted that their interest was not under any sponsorship, they maintained that Manguno has demonstrated uncommon integrity and would never misappropriation public funds as alleged.

“We condemn in the strongest terms what has now become some states government standard policy of using taxpayers’ money to pay terrorists and bandits thereby funding and encouraging more terrorism and legitimising criminality in the country.

“We believed that negotiation with bandits is not the best option because it is another form of corruption. We have seen where bandits and government officials negotiate and share ransom. In Katsina State for instance, there was a case where the state government approved about N800 million as ransoms and the government officials ended up giving out less than N300,000.

“So because of the corruption involved, the governors, who are also benefiting from the loot, will never want the government to deploy full military application to end the banditry. They have continued to criticise the NSA to the president because the man is opposed to their view on adoption of negotiation,” they stated.