NIGERIA GOVERNORS CONSIDERS DIALOGUE WITH BANDITS
The Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) on Tuesday gave strong indications that it might hold dialogue with bandits to curb the rising insecurity in the country.
Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the NGF hinted at this when he led some members of the forum on a solidarity visit to the Governor of Niger state Sanni Bello in Minna.
Niger states as well as some other northern states have experienced a spike in bandit attacks. The latest in Niger occurred last week when bandits invaded the Government Science College, Kagara in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state and abducted 27 students and workers.
During the visit to Minna, Fayemi condoled with Governor Bello and the people of Niger State. He also hinted that Governors might opt to engage in dialogue with the bandits to deal with the immediate security crisis.
"We also need to explore other avenues side by side with whatever the security institutions are doing. If that means engaging in dialogue, we may not have a choice. We may have to do that, anything to help us to deal with this immediate crisis and then to begin to address on a much more longer time basis, the root causes of this social dislocation responsible for what we are witnessing, all around us," the NGF president said.
Recall Niger State Government recently secured the release of commuters abducted from a Niger State Transit Authority Bus ostensibly through dialogue.
In response, Governor Bello, who thanked his colleagues for their solidarity visit, said he is fully in support of adopting kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to curb banditry in his state.
He, however, stressed that he would only consider dialogue with repentant bandits.
“I agree we should hold dialogue, as bad as it seems. There is the need to look at the root causes and see how we can address them, but then, make no mistake, for those who have chosen the path of terrorism and do not show any sign of repentance, then the needful must be done," Governor Bello said.