Bandits Still Enjoying The Spoils

Bandits Still Enjoying The Spoils
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It would be an understatement to conclude that the current security challenges are not ravaging through the polity. It is even more precarious given that the size, scope and form of insecurity is expanding by the day. This concern indeed precludes the growing spate of cyber-insecurity which is an adjunct of a decaying moral fiber prevalent in our clime; that on its own is a huge subject matter which may require more than a passing remark.

With each day comes one or the other emergent security challenge that detracts from the total national good. In the wake of these deadly scenarios associated with the grim insecurity pervading the land are various strategies being adopted to tame these monstrous visages that have become part of our daily lives. It is obvious that the more the authorities strive to tame the monster, the more they are bewildered by the changing tactics of the perpetrators, hence making the situation seemingly unconquerable. In the midst of these quagmires, not a few individuals have assumed the notoriety of having the propensity to bring terrorists, insurgents and other criminal elements to a ‘negotiating table’.

Some of these claims of negotiations on behalf of the Federal Government have been dismissed by many as sheer shams, aimed at making personal gains at the expense of a desperate government willing to bring to an end prevailing insecurity across the land.

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While no specific regime has been isolated as being the only one that has engaged mediators to deal with the situation, there appears to be more volunteers in this increasing army of negotiators.

Not too long ago, Zamfara State Government was reported to have purchased a fleet of Toyota Hilux vehicles along with monetary gifts for bandits in order to appease them, yet it appeared the gesture, rather than ameliorate the situation, has ironically exacerbated it. More Nigerians now see the trend as too patronising for groups who ought to account for their misdeeds against humanity.

Why terrorists and bandits would be given this exclusivity at the expense of the long-suffering citizens they have traumatised over time against the backdrop of unquantifiable human and material losses. Many have contended that this largesse given to bandits in Zamfara, Katsina and other states in the North where they hold sway has become a propelling force that has aided them to further rummage through difficult terrains to further their nefarious activities. It was counter-productive, it has been asserted.

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Only recently, a prominent Islamic cleric was said to have engaged some bandits in Zamfara State in the full glare of the international media in which he was said to have had meaningful negotiations with them and some revelations were claimed about how some state government officials were complicit in the fight against insurgents.  We are indeed concerned that these brigands are not faceless and invincible as was envisaged over time otherwise, how have they continued to converge?

Before now, a few Nigerians and even foreigners had assumed the unenviable status of negotiators between terrorists and the government in which humongous sums which were neither confirmed nor formally accepted as true were parted with. Many see these backdoor negotiations as spurious and smacking of fraud as allegations continued to fly that the individuals had only ended up enlarging their personal fortunes.

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AljazirahNigeria is not averse to any genuine effort that would douse the increasing tension in the land which is underlined by terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and other vices but there must be an engagement in due diligence where the negotiators and their ‘subjects’ are adequately tracked. There must not be loose ends where both parties could take undue advantage of the desperation of the government to ensure safety of lives.

We also urge the government to be circumspect in identifying so-called repentant bandits and terrorists as even street gangsters could mushroom and pretend to be the same by merely surrendering some scrap metals in the name of handing in their weapons to achieve personal gains.

It is also necessary for the government and stakeholders to be wary in caving in to all demands by these elements of criminality who would crave attention in order to fleece the state.


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