By John Shiklam
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has declared that bandits have challenged the sovereignty of Nigeria, and must therefore be wiped out.
He reiterated that the state government would never negotiate with the criminals.
According to the governor, the activities of the criminals have driven farmers from their land and shaken the confidence of the people.
The governor, who stated this yesterday at the Government House in Kaduna while receiving the 2020 Security Report from the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, warned that food security of Nigerians is seriously at risk in view of activities of criminal elements across the country.
Kaduna is one of the states in the North-west region that is worst hit by activities of bandits and kidnappers, with communities being invaded and people being killed or abducted almost on a daily basis.
El-Rufai said: “Banditry has severely impacted the rural economy and shaken the confidence of the citizens.
“It has driven farmers from their land putting food security at risk; displaced communities, stolen property and deprived people of their right to life.
“We must put a stop to these criminal acts and enable our people to live their lives in peace and safety. This is a most urgent task.”
He said the state position on bandits is unequivocal and consistent, insisting that “bandits, cattle rustlers and armed militias must be degraded and decimated to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority.
“We will neither negotiate with criminals of any description nor support any grant of amnesty. Criminal gangs, bandits, insurgents and ethno-religious militias made a conscious choice to challenge Nigeria’s sovereignty and menace our citizens.
“These criminals must be wiped out immediately and without hesitation.
“I am assured by the recent directive given to the federal security agencies to wipe out such gun-wielding criminals by the president.”
The governor stated further that he is encouraged by the stance of the federal government in his periodic interactions with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) that “there is near unanimity and broad consensus on the part of the national and sub-national political leadership-the president and the state governors-on this course of action.”
El-Rufai called for further empowerment of security agencies to defeat the criminals, “including providing the additional funds, the armament technology and the required personnel.”
The governor stressed that: “This national consensus to eliminate all forms of insecurity must be operationalised immediately.”