Ahmad Yerima, a former governor of Zamfara State, has asked President Bola Tinubu to consider holding talks with bandits in order to reduce insecurity in the nation’s North-West.
Yerima promoted negotiations between the Federal Government and “repentant” bandits. He maintained that employing armed action would cause “collateral damage” and should be saved for the very last option.
The ex-governor had earlier urged governors in the North-West to engage in discussion with the bandits terrorising the area in a BBC Hausa interview.
“The greatest strategy for dealing with bandits is to start a conversation. After paying a courtesy call to the President on Monday at Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, he declared, “But as I said, if it fails, then the government will go all out to eradicate them.
T”he northern Nigerian state of Zamfara has seen violent warfare between the military and outlaws for nearly ten years as they have fought for control of the territory’s mineral-rich areas.
Yerima suggested that Tinubu think about implementing an amnesty policy for bandits in the North, similar to what the late President Umar Yar’Adua did for insurgents in the Niger Delta.
“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.
The ex-governor also revealed that the President directed him to intervene in ongoing tensions between the current Zamfara Governor, Dauda Lawal, and his predecessor, Bello Matawalle.
Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party defeated Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress in the March 18 governorship election.
The new governor alleged that Matawalle made off with official vehicles, television sets, refrigerators, and gas cookers from the Government House before handing over power.
Yerima responded to a question about it from our correspondent by saying, “I’m a father in Zamfara. We are already working to maintain stability in the state, as even Mr. President demanded in our conversation this afternoon: “By the grace of God, we will come together, and you will see that all the crises going on will be over.”
The former legislator urged Nigerians to be patient while reassuring them that the pain brought on by the end of fuel subsidies would “go away in due course.”