Bandits Have No Right To Life, Wipe Them Out – El-Rufai

Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai
Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai

BEVERLY HILLS, April 08, (THEWILL) – Kaduna State’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday declared that bandits currently terrorising Nigeria had lost all rights to life and must be wiped out.

Addressing a Federal Government “Town Hall Meeting on National Security and National Unity: titled, “Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Security and National Unity in Nigeria,” at the Kaduna State University on Thursday, el-Rufai urged implementation of the national livestock transformation plan of 2016 for accelerated investment.

He equally called for vesting of all on-shore minerals, including petroleum, on the states, to enable them take more responsibility.

The Governor said, “The situation in which the security agencies mostly only react to cases of banditry and abduction is unacceptable. We are in a war with these terrorists who are challenging the sovereignty and monopoly of the instruments of coercion of the Nigerian state and its territory.

“Security forces must collaborate to take the war to them, recover and restore the un-governed forests these terrorists occupy, and enable our law-abiding citizens to engage in their legitimate pursuits, including farming and livestock production, without fear. These bandits have lost their right to life under our Constitution and must be wiped out in their entirety.

“This country does not have enough soldiers, uniformed police and secret police to project state power across its vast swathes, particularly the forests. The limited boots on the ground are not well equipped and are significantly lacking in the technology that can make their limited numbers matter a lot less.

“The justice system operates with ethos and at a pace that does not reflect the fragility of the situation. Prosecutions take so long that many citizens assume that the criminals have long been released, encouraging criminal conduct, and raising the dangerous appeal of illegal self-help. This is unsustainable and unacceptable.

“I wish to suggest that this country requires urgent action as follows: Identify, focus on and deal decisively with all state and non-state actors engaged in conduct that amounts to challenging the supremacy of the Nigerian state and our Constitution without ethnic profiling or discriminatory treatment; Provide immediate and enhanced funding to acquire advanced equipment, armament and ordinance for the armed forces, police, security and paramilitary agencies;

“Centralised policing in a Federation is not only a contradiction in terms. The state governments today bear most of the burden of the running costs of the Federal Police, so why not the sub-nationals of the state police now. So I repeat my persistent call for State Police as soon as possible.

“A unitary and dysfunctional Judiciary that is so slow in dispensing justice needs to be decentralised and reformed. The Constitution should be expeditiously amended to remove the unitary control of the superior courts and federalise our judiciary now. Be emphatic about the right of every citizen to security, freedom of movement and rights of residence, and that the choice of livelihoods must conform to the laws of the land;

“Finally, to address the banditry prevalent in the North-west and North-central, we must implement the national livestock transformation plan already produced four years ago to enable accelerated investment in modern animal husbandry, incorporating the rapid sedentarisation of herders in known locations.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his opening remarks, said the meeting aimed at addressing insecurity and its effect on national security, said insecurity involves, “farmers-herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious crises, cultism and drug addiction. Insecurity and its manifestation was a dangerous trend in the peace and unity of the nation.”

The lead speaker, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, listed 10 benchmarks which he believed if properly addressed will touch significantly on the issues being discussed. The benchmarks he said include public corruption; citizenship; national cohesion; restructuring; Federalism; expanding ungoverned spaces; imbibing one God in young ones; quality education; taxation for responsibility; inter marriage.

The meeting was attended by the Senate Leader, the Emirs of Zazzau, Fika and Birnin Gwari and Agwatyap, the Ministers of Defence, Agriculture, Interior, Environment, Police, Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Secretary of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Idowu Fearon, while the governors of Zamfara and Ekiti states were represented.