BEVERLY HILLS, March 01, (THEWILL) – Armed banditry is fast becoming a recognised vocation in Nigeria. This comes as hardened criminals and heartless bandits are being treated as the new state actors. The role of some state governors, especially in the North, and apparently, with the tacit support of the Federal Government, in this evil transformation, is really disturbing.
To be referring to dare-devil criminals and hardened armed bandits, most of whom are not even Nigerians, as aggrieved persons is, to say the least, disappointing. It is therefore no surprise that these bandits are now holding the entire country to ransom as they coerce government officials into negotiating with them on their terms as if they are state actors.
The unfolding scenario where bandits now dictate to the government their terms is the lowest level the country has ever fallen in recent times. It is therefore unimaginable that bandits would now storm secondary schools at will and abduct innocent children with the aim of making the government open negotiations with them on ransom being demanded.
The role of supposedly religious leaders in this unholy alliance, turning themselves into overnight mediators, is the highest form of insult on the intelligence of Nigerians. That elected state governors and other government officials would even follow an unofficial mediator such as Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi into the forest to negotiate with armed bandits is the lowest level to which some of these governors have descended. It is a shame that supposedly chief security officers of states would descend so low to follow an unofficial negotiator into the forest to negotiate with bandits who are nothing more than criminals.
We therefore condemn Gumi’s new role and vocation as a ‘mediator’ as we wonder whose interest is he really serving and who appointed him as a mediator. More annoying and condemnable is his recent reference to journalists as “criminals” for describing armed bandits as criminals. THEWILL therefore gives kudos to the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) for calling Gumi out and challenging him on his new romance with the bandits.
We align ourselves with the NUJ in condemning Gumi’s attempts to seek amnesty for these bandits who have killed and abducted innocent citizens, especially school children . We also join the NUJ in challenging Gumi to explain to Nigerians why despite his recent negotiations with bandits in Zamfara State, the criminals have continued maiming, killing, raping and kidnapping innocent citizens, including the 300 female students just abducted in the same state.
The abduction of the Kankara school boys in Niger State and the recent storming of the Government Girls Science Secondary School Jangebe in Jangebe, Zamfara State, by armed bandits who made away with about 317 students are all sad commentaries in the unfolding drama. It is however unfortunate that the unofficial mediator would come out to say that the bandits he met in the Niger forest were not responsible for the kidnap of the Kankara boys.
These actions and the non-challant attitude of the Federal Government to the plight of the innocent school kids have really gone a long way in confirming Nigerian political leaders as failures. Moreso, a country which has no control over violent crimes and criminality is nothing more than a failed state.
THEWILL is however glad at President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise not to negotiate with bandits but no one is sure what his ministers would do, especially now that most government officials speak with discordant tunes on issues of national importance. We find it very disappointing that while the Federal Government would rise to the occasion to free abducted students in Katsina and Zamfara states, those in Niger State are being left to their fate, with the state government being helpless •