Governor Nasir El-Rufai has rejected negotiating or paying ransom to bandits. The governor said his colleagues are in agreement that bandits must be completely wiped out. El-Rufai said security agencies must eliminate anyone found in the hideouts of bandits, adding that no inhabitant of forests is innocent. He made the comment while speaking at an event tagged Financing Safe School last Tuesday in Abuja.
Although some northern governors, particularly Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, have advocated for dialogue with bandits, el-Rufai insists that they are all on the same page on killing them all.
The governor said; “Our position as governors and we are unanimous in this because we, the northern states’ governors, met with the president on this subject. Our unanimous position is to wipe out the bandits. We must go into these forests, nobody living in that forest is innocent, and just kill them all. It is the only way to end this insecurity challenges.”
“We need the combination of air power, and we need troops on the ground augmented by local expertise and knowledge. We need just one, two, or three month’s operation to just try to kill all the bandits. It’s the only way to stop this. So long as these bandits are being paid, it will remain a business. So the only option that we have is to ensure that we kill them all.”
The Kaduna state governor said there is been a decline in the operation of bandits across the northern part of the country. He said the reduction in banditry is due to the efforts of the Nigerian air force.
According to his words; “I am very happy that the chief of air staff has been bombing them. So you will see there is a decline in banditry. What you see is the coordinated action with air power and use of drones,” Governor El-Rufai stated.
He, however, noted that more advanced weapons must be acquired for the security agencies in order to make their operations more efficient.
According to his words; “I think the security agencies also need more advanced technology. The Air force needs more drones. Drones are much cheaper than planes and there are drones now that can carry missiles,” the governor said.
He continue; “Because the bandits know when they hear the sound of the aircraft and hide in the bushes. But drones can be more targeted, more selective and quiet. And drones can also fly in circumstances that airplanes cannot due to bad weather.”
It will be recall how El-Rufai who now maintains a hard-line stance against bandits, ruling out any possibility of negotiating with them and insisting they deserved to be killed, has been accused of double-standard. Nigerians have revisited how El-Rufai had launched a scathing criticism against the former President Goodluck Jonathan for refusing to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists to secure the release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
This is as the bandits who recently abducted students from the Federal College Of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Kaduna, had demanded a N500 million ransom from the government with El-Rufai calling them bluff. Ten of the 39 students who were abducted in the school regained freedom after their parents negotiated with the bandits directly.
Bandits have also refused to release students abducted from the Greenfield University in Kaduna. They have killed five of them and threatened to execute the rest if their demand is not granted.
Shortly after Boko Haram insurgents abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, Governor El-Rufai was one of the loud voices that attacked the government of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
He had said: “If one of these girls was Goodluck Jonathan’s daughter, the story would have been different. The only reason why these girls are still in captivity is because they are not the daughter of any important Nigerian, and we know it. If you say we are politicizing terrorism, go and rescue the girls so that I will not have the basis to politicize it,” Governor El-Rufai stated.