Ex-Governor Sani Yerima says President Bola Tinubu should rehabilitate bandits because they are hapless, hungry and ignorant Nigerians forced into a life of violent crimes.
“You see, these people (bandits) are Nigerians. The military has the power to deal with them if so directed. If they are given the resources, the support and political will. But the collateral damage that would be associated with the action taken is what should be avoided,” Mr Yerima said.
The former Zamfara governor added, “If you recall, former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had a similar interaction with Niger Delta militants, and it was successful.”
The former Zamara governor made this call in an interview with journalists after meeting Mr Tinubu at the Presidential Villa on Monday.
Mr Yerima said, “I believe that as Nigerians, if they are called upon by the government, the major cause of this problem (banditry) is poverty and ignorance. You cannot find an educated person who has something to do carry a gun to kill an innocent soul just in the name of looking for food.”
Making reference to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s rehabilitation of Boko Haram insurgents, who have killed about 350,000 people in the North-East since they took up arms against the Nigerian state in 2009, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, Mr Yerima said, “If the government comes up with a programme of rehabilitation like they did with Boko Haram, I’m sure we will have a successful ending of this crisis.”
Mr Yerima stressed, “I am now a father in Zamfara, and even Mr President, in my interaction this (Monday) afternoon, has requested me to put my best to ensure that there is stability in the state, and that is what we are doing already.”