Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai says what is needed is a strong and coordinated fight against bandits, and not a peace deal like the one being advocated by Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
The governor disclosed this in an interview with BBC Hausa on Monday.
Gumi, a Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, has been visiting bandits in their enclaves in some northern states, preaching and appealing to them to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue.
El-Rufai, however, said even though northern governors lack coordinated efforts in the fight against insecurity in the region at the moment, he did not believe that a herdsman who is used to earning millions of naira after kidnapping operations should be considered for a peace deal.
“A Fulani herdsman that was used to only getting between N10,000 to N100,000 in a year after he sells a cow, but he is now getting millions from kidnapping for ransom will never stop,” the governor said.
“Whoever tells me that a Fulani man who ventured into kidnapping for ransom and he is making millions would go back to his pastoral life of getting N100,000 after selling a cow in a year must be deceiving himself,” he said.
“Ahmad Gumi is my friend. I discussed this issue with him. And I told him that the majority of these Fulani bandits don’t believe in religion whatsoever. So, it is a waste of time to think that they will repent. So, we don’t believe in what (Gumi) is doing now. We don’t believe that these bandits should be forgiven or compensated. Besides, nobody offended them,” he said.
El-Rufai said there is no wisdom in advocating for compensation for Fulani bandits who killed people and destroyed their property.
He said earlier, the northwest governors took a common approach in tackling cattle rustlers. But when it came to fighting bandits, the governors were divided. He said the majority of the governors believed in dialogue with the bandits, which he disagreed with.
He said the best way of ending banditry in the north is to get our armed forces confront these bandits across the states at once and eliminate them once and for all.