Ahmad Yerima, a former governor of Zamfara State, has asked President Bola Tinubu to consider holding talks with bandits for amnesty 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 former governor urged governors in the North-West to engage in discussion with the bandits terrorising the area during a BBC Hausa interview.
“The best way to go about handling the issue of bandits is to introduce dialogue first. But as I said, if that fails, then the government will go all out to eliminate them,” he said after a courtesy visit to the President on Monday at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
The 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.
Yerima said: “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.”