NGF mulls talks with bandits, others

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum on Tuesday hinted at the possibility of choosing to dialogue with bandits and people affected by their atrocities to address insecurity in the country.

The Chairman of the NGF, Dr Kayode Fayemi, gave this indication when he led some members of the forum on a solidarity visit to the Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, in Minna, the state capital.

Recall that gunmen on Wednesday last week stormed Government Science College, Kagara in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state and abducted 27 students and 15 workers.

Fayemi said, “We all feel your pain. We feel the fears and the anxieties of the good people of Niger State. This is not something that is uncommon. What happens here is not unique to you. You have been part of several delegations to Bornu State to Katsina State, to Ogun State and to Oyo State. As a matter of fact, you were in Ogun State when the Kagara incident happened, and you had to rush back home in order to attend to the challenge in Niger State.”

“We don’t want to come here on a cycle of lamentation. That’s not our job. Yes, we want to be compassionate. Yes, we want to be sympathetic. We want to feel the pain of our people because our first responsibility as governors as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution is the security and welfare of our people, but we don’t want to lament because the citizens want us to fix the problem. Our people just want us to find a permanent solution to this cycle of violence, insurgence, banditry, criminality, and brigandage in our country.”

Indicating that governors might consider dialogue, he stated, “We also need to explore other avenues side by side with whatever the security institutions are doing if that means engaging in dialogue We may not have a choice. We may have to do that, anything to help us to deal with this immediate crisis and then to begin to address on a much more longer time basis, the root causes of this social dislocation responsible for what we are witnessing, all around us.”

The NGF chairman commended the measures taken by Bello which resulted in the release of the passengers that were abducted in the Niger State Transport Service bus on February 14.

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