November 27, 2022

A Repentant Bandit Is A Dead One, Says El- Rufai

  • December 22, 2021
  • 7 min read
A Repentant Bandit Is A Dead One, Says El- Rufai

Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai has maintained that there is nothing like a repentant bandit.

He spoke to State House correspondents on Tuesday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari alongside his commissioner of internal affairs, Samuel Aruwan at the Presidential Villa.

According to him, the state does not believe in negotiation with bandits saying they believe that the only repentant Bandit is a dead one.

He also called for massive recruitment into the army and police to stem the tide of the rising insecurity.

He regretted the killing of 40 persons in the state by bandits, saying that even though there had been such incidents, this one was a great shock.

He called for more military intervention from the federal government in terms of security forces.

El- Rufai said the recent declaration by the Federal High Court as terrorists open the way to fight them without limits.

He said “Yes, we receive the security reports, we know a lot about the bandits or where they are in their activities. But you must understand that intelligence has to be acted upon.

“And if the security forces are unwilling or unable to reach the locations were these bandits are then there is nothing we can do as a state government. Federal Security Forces are not under their control.

“We support them, we work with them, the intelligence is being provided. But the truth of the matter is, our military and police are very few.

“And they are overstretched. So you have to understand the limitations that they face before you conclude that they are not doing enough. They’re doing a lot. But is it enough? Certainly not.

“Much more needs to be done. But can they do more with the number of policemen they have, the number of soldiers? I don’t know. We need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigeria police.

“We need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigerian armed forces. We have too few numbers and our security forces are overstretched.

“They are operating in several states, about 32 to 33 states the last time we checked and how many are they? Wo we must understand the concern that they face and sympathize with them.

But with the, you know, acquisition of more advanced equipment from the countries that I mentioned, Jordan, China, Turkey, and the United States, we expect that the kinetic capabilities of our armed forces will be greatly improved.
So we hope to see the end of this insecurity.

“Yes, there was a problem. Even if you know where the bandits are, you don’t want to go and bomb all of them because they may have civilians in custody. You may have collateral damage that you may not want to handle. Okay?

“And without the declaration of bandits as terrorists, it might even be referred to as abuse of human rights.

“Okay? I know it may sound funny, because in this world today who criminals have more human rights than innocent people.

“When you when you kill criminals, people will start shouting that they have human rights. They forget that the people that they are killing also have rights. So this is the world we live in.

“But with the recent declaration by the Federal High Court that these bandits, by whatever description, are terrorists opens the way to fight them without limits. So no one would be dragged to international criminal court because you’ve bombed bandits.

Okay, so the military and the police are now more strengthened to fight them more aggressively. But until that was done, it was a major problem.

It was a major restraint on the capacity of the military to do what they need to do but now I think the cost is clear, and I’m quite confident you’ll see major improvements in the attacks against these bandits.

“As you know, Kaduna state government has always maintained the position that there is nothing like a repentant bandit. We don’t believe in negotiation with bandits. We believe that the only repentant Bandit is a dead one.

“When he’s in the grave I agree that he has repented, because he has gone to God, God will deal with him. I would accept that repentance. But any bandit that is alive, cannot be repentant. Our position is to kill them all let them go and explain to God, not to the Government of Nigeria or Kaduna state, thank you.

On the nomenclature of the criminals, he explained“Look, they are bandits. If you want to call them terrorists, you can call them terrorists, but we don’t want them to be confused with the terrorists that we know the Boko Haram. IPOB has been declared terrorists. We don’t call them terrorists, we call them IPOB.

“Okay, so this is the nomenclature doesn’t matter. What matters is they are now fair game for the armed forces. Until then, they were not. People were afraid of what would happen to them if they killed them.

“Yes, Kaduna state has the largest concentration of military institutions. But what you don’t realise also is that most of the military institutions are training institutions.

“They are not fighting institutions, only one division Nigeria is a fighting institution in the entire proliferation of military institutions; the Air Force trading commodities for trading NDA is training. In Kachia, the Navy is training, okay. And training institutions do not have fighting forces.

They only have enough security for their facilities. They don’t have fighting forces. They just train. So the fact that there are many military institutions in Kaduna does not give it any bigger advantage in terms of having fighting forces than, say, second division in Ibadan or third armour division in jos. You know, we have first mechanised division which covers several states, but not enough fighting force. It’s a training Centre; a centre for training the military rather than concentration of fighting forces.

Once you say, bandits, of whatever description have been designated terrorists, that’s it. That gives the military the power to do what they do. What we call them is not important. What they are called does not matter. It is the legal status of being declared terrorists that matters.

“The legal status is that they have been declared terrorists, but which terrorists? There are many terrorists in Nigeria. Boko Haram terrorists. Ansaru are terrorists, maybe you’ve never heard about them.

“The ones that we have in Kaduna are bandits that have now been declared terrorists? These are people that rob, kill and kidnap for ransom. What do you want to call them?

“But what group of terrorists are they? Are they Boko Haram? Or IPOB? What I’m saying is we call them bandits to differentiate them from the rest but they are terrorists.

“You can choose any name you want to give them but as a government, I have to call them a name that everyone understands. If I call them Mohammed or Edward in Kaduna, nobody will understand what I’m talking about. It is a method of communication.

“I have said the legal status is that once they are declared terrorists by whatever name, they are terrorists But they have to have a name that everyone can understand and not confuse them with Boko Haram, Ansaru or IPOB,” he added.

By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah

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