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Buhari rules out amnesty for Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, bandits, kidnappers

President Muhammadu Buhar on Thursday ruled out the possibility of negotiating with or granting amnesty to Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.

Saying his administration would continue to deal decisively with them, Buhari lamented that they have been waging a campaign of violence and destruction of lives and property in Nigeria especially the Northern part of the country.

President Buhari, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, also asked Nigerians to stop the ethnic profiling of criminals, adding that criminals should be treated as criminals.

He pledged his administration’s determination to continue to deal decisively with all criminals especially the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals as they pose existential thread to innocent citizens across the country.

The President spoke at the meeting of the Governors of the 19 Northern States with members of the National Assembly from the region, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III and traditional rulers from Northern region, representatives of the Arewa Consultative Forum and Northern Elders’ Forum.

Governors of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Yobe, Plateau, Sokoto and Kebbi States were present while others were represented by their deputies.

President Buhari told the meeting, which was called to discuss the troubling security challenges occasioned by banditry and other related crimes as well as the almajirinci menace in Nigeria’s Northern States that he had tasked the new Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs to device new strategies that would end the ugly situation where the lives of Nigerians were being threatened by hoodlums and criminals.

According to Buhari, “we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals constitute innocent threat citizens across the country.

“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly without resorting to ethnic profiling.I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.

“I expect that at this meeting, your Forum will also discuss and devise ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at last.

“It is pertinent to note that the increased realization of our security, democracy and development indices are inextricably linked. Democracy and the rule of law promote stability and in turn, reinforces the power to assert freedom and economic progress of our people.

“This thread of interconnection needs the support of the Northern State Governors Forum and the entire citizenry of the country as any amount of positive sacrifice would be beneficial in bringing about National development and security out nation.”

In his opening remarks, Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the NGF, Simon Lalong, told his colleagues that statistics had shown that the region has a long way to go in terms of “education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialization and human capital development among others.”

He also lamented that the issue of insecurity has gravely affected the economy and food security jeopardized.

“That is why we have remained resolute in supporting and advising the Federal Government, collaborating with relevant security agencies and also using opportunities at our disposal to work for a more secured nation,” he added.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmad Wase on behalf of northern National Assembly lawmakers, said the National Assembly would collaborate with the North to see to the problem bedevilling the region and by extension the country.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State while addressing the gathering, stressed the need for peace for the development of the region and the country.

El-Rufai said, “we need enduring peace and security to ensure that our people can prosper and that our states can develop. Amidst the fears and despairs of the moment, we have a chance to offer hope and buoy up the spirit of our people.

“Our people are looking up to us for solutions. We need peace and security in the north and Nigeria. We must discharge our duty as leaders to them by collaborating across all divides to solve the challenges that confront our region and Nigeria.”

On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, speaking on behalf of Northern Traditional Council, urged Northerners to be patient with the regional Governors.

Abubakar noted that the Governors were trying to rebuild what had been destroyed in the North over a decade ago.

He also said the traditional council in the region would continue to defend the action of the Governors.

The Sultan decried the almajirinci menace in the North which he claimed was poverty-driven.

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