el-Rufai kicks against compensation for bandits, says ‘I don’t believe they should be forgiven’

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Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, says he does not agree with the proposition by Ahmad Gumi, a prominent Islamic cleric, that the federal government should dialogue with bandits instead of waging war against them.

Gumi had met with some suspected bandits in the forests of Zamfara state.

After the meeting, he asked the federal government to use the security budget to address the demands of bandits, claiming that most of them (bandits) had lost all their possessions to cattle rustling and extortion.

But speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa on Monday, el-Rufai said Gumi’s proposal will not prove helpful.

The governor said the bandits would not be willing to give up kidnapping, considering the huge amounts demanded as ransom.

“Anybody that thinks a Fulani man that ventured into kidnapping for ransom, and he is earning millions of naira, would go back to his former life of getting N100,000 after selling a cow in a year, must be deceiving himself,” el-Rufai said.

“Why should they be compensated after killing people, destroying their houses. Who offended them? Ahmad Gumi is my friend and this is what we discussed with him.

“I told him that the majority of these Fulani bandits don’t believe in religion. Therefore, I don’t believe in what he (Gumi) is doing that they should be forgiven and compensated.”

El-Rufai added that the lack of unity between the governors of the north-western states is also hindering the fight against banditry.

“As a result, every state is fighting in it own way. If we cannot come together for the federal government to provide us with soldiers and police to enter the bush and kill all the bandits, it will be difficult to succeed in the fight against banditry,” he said.

“There is no synergy among the governors in the north-west on how to end the banditry. But Kaduna is collaborating with Niger state on modalities to end the killings by the gunmen.

“State like Zamfara adopted a policy of dialogue with the gunmen, giving them amnesty, which I don’t believe in. With this, we have differences on how to tackle the situation.

“We sat together with the governors in Katsina, but we disagreed on how to tackle the criminality. Some believed on dialogue, while others didn’t.”

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