President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that bandits, who are killing and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, are criminals and should be treated as such.
Buhari made this assertion on Thursday, February 25, at a security meeting in Kaduna.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, the meeting was attended by 19 northern governors, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III led traditional rulers from all parts of the north to the meeting.
Buhari stated his administration would continue to deal decisively with insurgents, bandits, and kidnappers.
Buhari said, “This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding development and progress.
“We are providing critical infrastructural facilities such as roads; railways; airports; among others, which are critical to the economic prosperity of our people; as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges; that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty as well as economic deprivation.
“The government shall continue to deal with insurgents; bandits; kidnappers, as well as other criminals that constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
In his opening remarks, the Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, said the North had a long way to go in terms of “education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialisation, and human capital development among others.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the lawmakers would collaborate with governors to solve problems bedevilling the region and by extension the country.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State while addressing the gathering; stressed the need for peace for the development of the region and the country.
El-Rufai said, “We need enduring peace and security to ensure that our people can prosper and that our states can develop.
“Amidst the fears and despairs of the moment, we have a chance to offer hope and buoy up the spirit of our people.
“Our people are looking up to us for solutions. We need peace and security in the north and Nigeria.
“We must discharge our duty as leaders to them by collaborating across all divides; to solve the challenges that confront our region and Nigeria.”
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, the 19 northern governors resolved to partner with the Federal Government; to tackle insurgency and banditry ravaging the region.
Lalong, who read the communiqué shortly after the meeting which lasted several hours; also said his colleagues resolved to work with their southern counterparts to end the rising ethnoreligious in the country.
The communiqué partly read, “the Northern States’ Governors’ Forum resolved to work assiduously and jointly with the Federal Government in tackling the challenges of insecurity in the country to create a conducive atmosphere for socio-political-economic growth and development of the country.
“The forum reiterated its commitment to work in synergy with their southern counterparts; and likewise appealed to their colleagues to extend their presence in the northern part of the country; in order to enable harmonious and peaceful coexistence among citizens and other ethnic nationalities.”