Senator Sani Yariman Bakura, a former Governor of Zamfara State, has talked about how to end banditry.
He emphasized that engaging in dialogue with bandits is the solution to the prevailing insecurity in North Western part of Nigeria.
During an interview with BBC Hausa service on Saturday, the former governor said that if the bandits are treated similarly to how former militants in the Niger Delta were handled, the banditry issue could be overcome.
Senator Yarima also highlighted that during his tenure as governor, the only security challenge faced by the state was arm robbery, and with the commitment and efforts of the security agencies, the issue was effectively tackled.
Yarima stated he firmly believed that Nigerian security agencies, with adequate support, possess the capability to handle the security situation in the country, as they have all the necessary resources to do so.
He said, “I’m advising the government to, first of all, find time to sit with these bandits, just like they sat with Niger Delta militants in the past. Because a majority of them are Nigerians, even though there are some foreigners among them. But Nigerians among them can be convinced, as the Niger Delta militants were convinced and empowered to stop. If that fails, then the government can use force on them wherever they are.”
Senator Yarima also highlighted that previous dialogues entered into with the bandits by other state governors were not conducted in good faith.
He said that he personally monitored the previous dialogues and discovered that most promises made to the bandits were not fulfilled.
He attributed ignorance and poverty as the driving factors behind people resorting to banditry, emphasizing that only illiterate individuals would take up arms and kill innocent people.
He proposed that the issue can be addressed if the bandits are approached and the government sincerely empowers them, just as was done with the Niger Delta militants.
The senator lamented that poverty and ignorance are responsible for most of the crises and problems in the country, emphasizing the need for leaders to find solutions to these issues.
He further criticized political leaders who, instead of addressing people’s problems, choose to embezzle billions from the public coffers for their own benefit.
He appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience with the new government led by President Bola Tinubu, assuring them that positive changes would be witnessed before the end of his tenure.
The senator further commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s initial steps, stating that reopening the borders would undoubtedly alleviate the hardships currently faced by Nigerians.