Dialogue, Rehabilitation Programmes Will Tackle North-West Terrorism — Sani Yerima, Says Bandits Are Also Nigerians

The former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima, has urged the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration to dialogue with terror groups, locally called bandits, operating in the North-West.

Yerima who said this while addressing journalists after meeting with Tinubu in Abuja, said the current government should conduct a similar dialogue as the one that led to the amnesty programme for militants in Niger Delta after dialogue with the Umar Yar’Adua administration

“These people are Nigerians and I believe that the Nigerian military and other security agencies have the capacity to deal with them squarely if directed and are given the resources they require, support and the political will.

“But the collateral damage that will be associated with the actions they will take is what I believe should be avoided. In the past, the late President Umaru Yar’adua had similar interaction with militants of the Niger-Delta and it was successful,” he said.

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According to him, poverty and ignorance were the causes of such conflicts. While proposing rehabilitation programmes as a means to integrate the bandits into society, he said negotiation is an integral part of governance and should be pursued before resorting to extensive military operations.

“You see, these people are Nigerians. And I believe that the Nigerian government has the capacity.

“The military, and security agencies have the capacity to deal with them immediately if so directed; if they are given the resources they require and the support and political will.

“But the collateral damage that could be associated with the actions that could be taken is what I believe should be avoided.

“If you send an aircraft now to where you identify the bandits, it is not only the bandits that would be affected.

“So if the government now comes up with a programme of rehabilitation just like they did in the issue of Boko Haram when the issue was handled. I’m sure you will have a successful ending to this crisis,” he opined.