Use Non-Kinetic Measures in Negotiating With Bandits, Shittu Calls

In order to combat the dangerous epidemic of banditry in Nigeria, former Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu has asked the Federal Government to investigate non-kinetic approaches.

Shittu stated this on Channels Television’s Politics Today program on Tuesday.

“If I am in position, it is not too late to use non-kinetic neasures in negotiating with bandits, giving them a promising future. Let us retain them. Many of them are very intelligent, many of them are able-bodied,” Shittu said, adding that the military spending on equipment far outweighed the non-kinetic approach.

The millions of Nigerian young children who are not in school, according to the former minister, serve as a “production factory for banditry” in the nation.

Similar to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic cleric from Kaduna, Shittu believed that talks between the government and bandits should take place “with the aim of resettling, rehabilitating, and retraining them.”

However, the ex-minister said it is important that the government solve the menacing situation “to ensure we have peace, to ensure that these people lay down their arms and ammunition and add value to their own lives and for them to also contribute to nation-building”.

He claimed that over time, society has turned its back on the bandits, saying that since they are Nigerian citizens, they ought to be given another chance through deradicalization and training.

“The more skills you are able to give to the largest number of them, the less the propensity for them to go back (to crime) if they are assured that a promising future awaits them after going through the deradicalisation processes and skills’ training.

“At the end of the day, the amount of money we are spending on the Armed Forces to confrontn these people, it looks like their number is endless because in the bush we have have thousands of groups, particularly in the North-West and North-East.

“So, instead of wasting too much money on acquiring arms and ammunition, let us rearrange, let us find a way, after every war, there must still be coming to the round table, negotiate,” Shittu said.

According to Shittu, the establishment of a state police will further strengthen the authority of governors and stifle local administrations.

President Bola Tinubu’s administration has insisted that it will not engage in negotiations with bandits, despite the fact that the robbers are still robbing hundreds of residents and schoolchildren—137 students from Kuriga in Kaduna State were taken hostage as part of their latest mass abduction.

Nigeria is dealing with an increase in security issues, primarily from kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, and oil theft. The North-West and North-East geographic zones have seen the greatest number of insurgent and bandit attacks over the past ten years. Terrorist groups operating in these regions have spread throughout the forests, killing and enslaving thousands of locals, tourists, and vulnerable targets such as women and children.

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