President Muhammadu Buhari says there will be no dialogue with bandits terrorising citizens across the country.
Mr Buhari stated this while declaring open a joint security meeting of Northern State Governors’ Forum, Northern Traditional Rulers Council and delegation from the Federal Government in Kaduna State on Thursday.
There have been calls for the government to grant armed bandits amnesty as a requisite for lasting peace. In the North, a popular Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, who has been at the forefront making the plea, says the gunmen were ready to accept amnesty and surrender their arms.
In thc Southern part of the country, Niger Delta militants are threatening to resume attacks on oil facilities, accusing the government of reneging in its promises.
But the President who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, said the time to treat criminals for who they are has come.
“I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence need to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached,” the president said.
“This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding developmental and progress. We are providing critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports among others which are critical to economic prosperity of our people as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
“I expect that at this meeting, your Forum will also discuss and devise ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at large.
“It is pertinent to note that the increased realization of our security, democracy and development indices are inextricably linked are inextricably linked. Democracy and rule of law promote stability and in turn reinforce the power to assert freedom and economic progress of our people.
“Government also notes with satisfaction the deliberate actions of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum of inclusivity in addressing the challenges of governance and national development. This is demonstrated in today’s event, wherein the Forum intends to receive and deliberate on the reports from Committees that were put in place to critically look at certain challenges of the region.
“I urge that these crucial and robust reports should be assiduously studied and implemented without delay. This is because we are not short of policies, but often faced with challenges of implementation. You will be leaving a landmark in ensuring that the record reports are not left to rot on the shelves but used for the good of all,” Mr Buhari advised.