A tough-talking Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has urged the federal government to support Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s initiative by granting amnesty to bandits terrorising the region.
The spokesperson of the coalition, AbdulAzeez Suleiman, in a statement yesterday, called on Fulani herdsmen living in the Southern part of the country to relocate if their safety could not be guaranteed in their host communities.
According to the group, the re-orientation and re-integration of bandits, who embrace peace, is critical to ending the insecurity in the North.
The group berated the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, for his stance against negotiating with bandits, saying the governor’s tactics would only bring further bloodshed in the region.
The group said: “We emphatically repudiate the stance of the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) against open grazing without first identifying suitable lands and creating grazing reserves and cattle routes after four years of telling lies about resettling the pastoralists through empty initiatives that never materialised.
“We call on the Nigerian public to note that rather than working to ensure a united, secure Nigeria, the federal government appears to be creating and fanning the present chaotic situation to cover its serial misgovernance and pervasive institutional and structural corruption.
“In this regard, we support and encourage the efforts of the Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi and other reasonable state governments that prefer dialogue to the hardcore counter-productive use of force for further bloodshed preferred by El-Rufai and his ilk.”
However, the critical question in the minds of those who would rather not dialogue with bandits is, how do we ascertain a repentant, peace-loving bandit? In other words, how do we deradicalize the mind of criminals, to the extent of allowing them to mingle freely with innocent members of the public? This is the question AbdulAzeez Suleiman has not answered.