I won’t be surprised if bandits register their ‘businesses’: Atiku

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar says he won’t be surprised if bandits decides to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Mr Abubakar widely known as Atiku stated this on Thursday while delivering his speech at a national dialogue and public presentation of a book, “Remaking Nigeria: Sixty years, sixty voices” in Abuja.

While lampooning President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain insisted that restructuring was the way forward to right perceived inequality in the country.

He said bandits have been allowed to brazenly operate, turning kidnapping for ransom into a business, as recently asserted by Governor Nasir El-rufai, and won’t be surprised should the criminals register with the CAC.

“We needed to fix Nigeria to avoid sleep-walking our way towards disaster,” the politician eyeing to succeed Mr Buhari in office remarked. “Yes, the Chibok girls had been kidnapped and held in captivity 7 years ago. Yes, conflicts between herders and farmers had been with us before 2016.

”But who would have thought that our country would become a haven for kidnappers and all manner of bandits to the extent that their nefarious activities would become a major industry?

“They have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“Five years ago, the Abuja – Kaduna Road was not a virtual no-go area. The SouthEast was not a virtual war-zone, and Amotekun was not needed to protect lives and property in the South West.

“These are among the clearest evidence that the issues that were the focal point of the book that brought us here more than five years ago have become even worse.

The calls for restructuring have not been heeded. Constitutional provisions on federal character have been ignored and even symbolic gestures to make all groups feel that they are part of the Nigerian family have been scorned as though they are a sign of weakness.

“As a result, the agitations that turned more groups into “Biafrans” have become even more strident and, in some cases, violent.

“In my view, we must restructure our country in a manner that allows various segments to develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments,” he added.