Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has said access to arms, ammunitions and drugs is a major motivation in banditry.
El-Rufai stated this in his remarks at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture and Awards organised by Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in Kaduna.
The governor who spoke on the theme “Insecurity In Northern Nigeria; Implications To Nation’s Economy” said access to arms and drugs has done a lot of damages in the region.
“Bandits inject themselves with drugs; that is why they can walk for hours without being tired,”, el-Rufai added.
Represented by the commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan, el-rufai noted that banditry is blind to religion, ethnicity or political persuasion.
He said “If someone tells you that bandits are targeting people based on religion or ethnicity, it is not correct.”
Governor el-rufai also called on the media to be strategic in reporting issues around insecurity.
He also said that, the state government is coming up with an idea of sensitizing herders.
He, therefore, called on religious leaders and citizens to support security agencies in tackling issues around insecurity.
On his part, the publisher of Blueprint Newspapers, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, called on government to embark on continuous engagements with the bandits.
He said, “We must come together and find a common ground to this problem.”
Earlier in his speech, the chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the NIPR, Malam Bashir Chedi, said “as public relations practitioners, our role is to create necessary platform that will bring major stakeholders on issues such as the prevalent insecurity and its damming consequences to the economy”.
Meanwhile, a former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, has accused the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of not doing enough to put an end to insecurity ravaging the country.
Falae said the new platforms in violence in the country came into being in the last four-five years after “the deception of this government.”
The former Finance Minister in the country who spoke to LEADERSHIP correspondent in his home in Akure, the Ondo State capital, noted that “If the government is doing enough, banditry would have ended in the country.”
According to him, “When this government came, the major thing they were fighting was Boko Haram. The new platforms in violence in the country now came into being in the last four-five years after the deception of this government.
“Is it bandits that are shooting down the fighter jets? They are not bandits. Those who went into the military academy to kidnap military officials show that they are not bandits. They are terrorists.
“All these came into being to join Boko Haram in the last four, five years. That is what makes it frightening. Rather than things getting better, they are getting worse and then you can begin to ask questions that why is it so? First, the economic situation in the country mandate increasing violence.
Falae who however identified unemployment and ineffective security arrangements in the country as the causes of the insecurity, said the only way to end the crisis must be political.
His words:”When people are unemployed and desperate and they can see no future for themselves, they will take to crime. And because of ineffective security arrangements in the country, they attempted to go and drag people, kidnap them, sure that nobody is going to get them, the ransom would be paid.
“In other countries, people would not pay the ransom. But here, kidnapping has become a lucrative business in the country because people would pay the ransom. Some people even kidnapped themselves and asked for ransom.
“This shows how terrible things have become in the country and the question you will want to ask is that, where do we go from here? We simply have to find a way to end this crisis and this must be political.
“Now there is no hope in the country and when hope dies, violence erupts. They must rekindle hope in Nigeria. But I don’t think this government is on that path of rekindling hope.
“If people you are calling bandits can shoot down military jets, it is more or less a civil war. They probably have anti-tank missiles. Any group that has that capacity, is an army, not even a terrorist. Very soon they will ask for negotiation.”
Also yesterday, the Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, urged Nigerians to condemn the sponsoring or killing of fellow human beings in the name of religion, describing it as an evil that must be condemned even when the perpetrators are members of the same religious circle.
Kaigama who made this call at St. Augustine’s Pastoral Area, at Waru community of Abuja yesterday, said that if Nigerians condemn the killings, it would improve peaceful coexistence and inter-religious harmony.
He admonished that the blame game must give way to forgiveness, reconciliation, collective witness to social justice, peace, and love.
“In our country instead, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals make life more difficult for orphans and multiply the number of widows by killing their men.
“Some anti-social elements go as far as cutting down food crops while claiming to be observers of religious rules and customs. Such observances are sterile.
“There is so much religiosity among practitioners of Christianity and Islam, but little piety with a little demonstration of unconditional charity towards fellow human beings, irrespective of religion or ethnicity. Unfortunately, some in the political class have exploited religion for selfish political and economic advantages.
“The government should interpret our concerns positively as a patriotic contribution to the current national issues to be urgently acted upon rather than see them as a challenge to political authority,” he said.
According to the archbishop, the world is watching Nigeria with great bewilderment that the reprehensible killings and related crimes, no matter the perceived grievances, are a call to the government to act proactively and definitively.
“Even some religious leaders make inciting comments to keep religious adherents in constant inter-religious hostility that no civilized religion encourages its adherents to fight for God.
“When we fight and kill in the name of religion, it is often out of selfish interests. It is also unfortunate that well-meaning Nigerians, who boldly speak out in favour of what is right, and make objective diagnosis of burning national issues, are threatened.
“The bishops, rising from the plenary meeting held in Enugu, 19th – 27th August, have spoken again on various issues: the needless killings, deficient security, youth unemployment, poverty, the bastardization of human life, amongst others,” he said
Similarly, the general overseer of the Evangelical Outreach Ministries International EBOMI and the national vice chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Prophet Isa El-buba, has warned that the Boko Haram members who had surrendered should not be allowed to mingle with the citizens because they had been negatively radicalized demonically and indoctrinated in the process
Prophet El-buba started this while speaking to journalists in Jos the Plateau State capital yesterday.
According to him, they should not be allowed to mingle with the ordinary citizens. They should be confined and restricted for now to a particular place to undergo reformation where their brain and spirit will be de-radicalized which will take a minimum of three years.
“They should be engaged and confined in an environment where they can be given certain tools or hand work to develop themselves. They should also be taught the value of family lives by Islamic teachers or leaders of sound mind.”