The Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai has been blasted over comments that the Federal Government could not decisively deal with Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and kidnappers the way it handled the case of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB Nnamdi Kanu.
El-Rufai had in an interview with BBC Pidgin, at the weekends and it is wrong to compare bandits with Kanu.
Kanu was arrested in Kenya and re-arraigned in Nigeria. However, some Nigerians have criticised the Federal Government and alleged that the Buhari led Administration is coddling bandits and Boko Haram insurgents and urged the government to take immediate action on these issues.
El-Rufai had said: “Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation. He is identifiable, in constant communication and everyone knows where he is. Let’s take Boko Haram for instance. Shekau was in hiding and for the past 10 years, the military had been waging a war to get him.
“It is not like Shekau was in Saudi Arabia, sitting in one place, tweeting about the break up of Nigeria or asking Boko Haram to go and kill Helen and Nasir el-Rufai. Nnamdi Kanu is in one place while Shekau is waging guerrilla warfare. The insurgency is still going on and the Federal Government is not giving up.
“Regarding bandits, they are not centralised under one leadership. Who is the head of the bandits? Who is the equivalent of Nnamdi Kanu with banditry? Bandits are just collections of independent criminals. It is a business for them. It is not a case of Nigeria must break up. I want to challenge anyone to tell me the central leader of bandits in the same position as Kanu,” the governor had said.
However, Afenifere, Ohanaeze, and others have criticized El-Rufai’s comment.
The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has said the matter should be left for the courts to determine.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, said Governor El-Rufai is allegedly trying to turn logic upside down.
The National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi, said: “It is quite regrettable that a person of Governor el-Rufai’s status, having been a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and now a governor, could reason the way he has reasoned.
“He said, for instance, that militants or agitators like Nnamdi Kanu, including, of course, by implication, Sunday Igboho, are not in the same category as Shekau and other bandits in the North.
“Yes, to us, they are different. Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho and the likes are drawing attention to the rights of their people that are being denied and for that reason, they said that if the Nigerian nation can no longer guarantee the rights of their people, they should be allowed to go.
“That is the summary of the agitations of the Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igbohos. One may or may not like their style but that is the summary of their objective.
“On the other hand, the position of Shekau and Boko Haram is that they want to gain territory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria by force. They are kidnapping, raping and killing. They are quite different from the approach of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.
“So, for a governor, who is supposed to be a leader, to now compare the two and even try to exonerate and justify the position of Shekau and Boko Haram, is a pity and regrettable.
“It is also a reason we may not be able to quickly get out of this mess because those who are supposed to know better and advise the Federal Government in a better way are turning logic upside down and it is regrettable. Afenifere disagrees with his position because it is not the correct position.”
On its part, the apex Socio-Cultural Igbo Organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, speaking through its spokesman, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said: “Agitation is an expression of illicit deprivation.
“Agitation means they have taken things which you are supposed to have, things that belong to you which they have not given to you.
“It is an expression of relative deprivation, the extreme of agitation is what they call secession.
“What is required in agitation and secession is a bargain, dialogue, diplomatic talks, what you may call negotiation or diplomatic form of relationship. In this situation, you hear out the other side which is very clear.
“On the other hand, you talk about banditry, kidnapping and so on which is crime and criminality. When you talk about killing, kidnapping and so on, it is the highest form of terrorism. While this one is talking about criminality, kidnapping terrorism; the other one is talking about agitation because of illicit deprivation.
“They are two sets of things and not related at all. So whatever El-Rufai may have said, he is entitled to his opinion but I will like him to judge the two things, the difference between them. They are not related at all.
“To think about secession and agitation and equating it to banditry is, to say the least. It is unexpected of a governor to say,” the group added.