Granting amnesty to bandits is not unique to Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has applauded the amnesty decision of the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle to bandits terrorising the northeast region and said it is unfair to criticise the decision.

Mr Mohammed was speaking at an AIT programme, Kakaaki monitored by NewsWireNGR on Wednesday.

He said governors are the chief security officers of their states and they have the right to make the decisions they deem fit to restore peace and unity in the state.

The Minister’s statement is off the back of criticism that has followed the carrot approach to ending banditry in the Zamfara State employed by Matawalle.

A recent success of the peace deal saw bandits who masterminded the abduction of over 300 Kankara boys surrender their arms on Tuesday.

But Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Monday faulted the dialogue call because bandits cannot surrender the huge money they get from banditry.

Reacting Mohammed said, “When you are fighting insurgency, you use both kinetic and non-kinetic (means). Granting amnesty to notorious drug barons, notorious militants is not a new thing, it is not unique to Nigeria.

“You need to be in the shoes of the Zamfara State government or governor to appreciate what are the issues at stake (and) why he has done that. Don’t also forget that the state governors are their own chief security officers.

“When you are dealing with insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, you are interested in the bigger picture; how do we restore peace? If granting amnesty to one notorious kidnapper is going to give me peace in my state, I might take that decision. If granting amnesty to one repentant warlord would help me capture a thousand bandits, I might take that decision. Don’t just look at what is in the public place, understand the very high complexity of managing insurgency and banditry.

“The governor of a state understands the dynamics of the state and takes decision but it will be unfair of us to criticise him (Matawalle) without knowing what he did and I want to believe the governors work together with the security forces in their own state, so, it is not as we think.”

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