The governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, says he will not negotiate with bandits like some of his colleagues are doing.
In the North, two state governors (Katsina and Zamfara) have been seen publicly identifying with armed criminals they ought to arrest and prosecute.
The criminals who were formally herdsmen took to crime after their animals where rustled, so says Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
Mr Gumi, a popular Islamic cleric, has been at the forefront negotiating and securing the release of captives abducted by the criminals, while lawful authorities, which appear helpless, watch.
While banditry is tactically becoming the new normal, President Muhammadu Buhari warned governors doing so to desist as their actions might backfire with dire consequences.
Featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today Friday evening, Mr Bello is of the opinion that the excuses of the herdsmen cum bandits are not teenable enough to warrant them picking up arms against the state.
The Kogi helmsman also advised the violent herdsmen to engage in farming.
“I don’t subscribe to the fact that because you’re idle then you take to crimes or criminality, there are a lot of jobs to be done, if you can’t do anything, go and farm. Crime is not an excuse for joblessness,” the governor said.
“Majority of those peddled as criminals are Fulani herdsmen, these people are known for rearing cattle; that’s a business. As a result of cattle rustling and the availability of land for grazing again, a number of their cattle have been taken away.
“Anybody carrying a rifle or arms against the state are criminals, I will not subscribe to negotiating with such criminals having made provision for each and everybody to improve their lives and livelihood… When criminals put guns against the state, common, let us get them out. We should be able to provide succor for lawful abiding citizens to have gainful employment or self-engagement,” he said.
The governor also appealed to the federal government to assist genuine livestock farmers as it does to others in various sectors of the economy.
“The government should be able to bail out genuine livestock farmers, the way we bail out rice farmers, cassava farmers, cash crop farmers, airlines, banks, salary earners. Let these poor innocent citizens be able to keep their livestock,” he added.