Former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmad Yerima, has urged President Bola Tinubu to consider dialogue with bandits to end insecurity in the North-West region of the country.
Yerima advocated that the Federal Government should negotiate with “repentant” bandits. He argued that using military force would result in “collateral damage” and, therefore, should be considered a last resort.
While speaking during an interview with BBC Hausa, the ex-governor had called on governors in the North-West to have a dialogue with bandits terrorising the region.
“The best way to go about handling the issue of bandits is to introduce dialogue first. But as I said, if that fails, then the government will go all out to eliminate them,” he said after a courtesy visit to the President on Monday at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
For nearly a decade, Zamfara State, located in North-West Nigeria, has been a flashpoint of armed conflict between the military and bandits who have struggled to control mineral-rich regions of the state.
Yerima said Tinubu should consider an amnesty programme for bandits in the North, like the late President Umar Yar’Adua did for the Niger Delta militants.
“I believe that the Nigerian military has the capacity to deal with them (bandits) if so directed and given the resources, support, and political will.
“But the collateral damages that will be associated with the actions to be taken are what I believe should be avoided. If you send an aircraft now, not only bandits will be affected
“Former President Umaru Yar’Adua had a similar interaction with the militants in the Niger Delta, and it was successful,” Yerima said.