Posted by News Express | 5 July 2021 | 466 times
I want to take Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, up on his challenge to anyone to tell him the central leader of bandits.
El-Rufai said bandits and terrorists are different from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
First, what El-Rufai said.
A report on 2 July 2021 quoted the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, as having said the way bandits and Boko Haram terrorists operate is different from that of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra led by Nnamdi Kanu.
Speaking to BBC Pidgin, El-Rufai stated that bandits are not calling for the breakup of Nigeria but are just carrying out their activities as a form of business.
He said unlike IPOB which is led by Nnamdi Kanu, bandits have no centralised leadership.
The governor said, “I was very happy (when Nnamdi Kanu was arrested) because, first he jumped bail, jeopardising his sureties.
“Secondly, a person that challenges the sovereignty and the authority of a state and incites violence; he refers to his own country as a zoo.
“This should be a message to all these separatists challenging the authority of the Nigerian State to be very careful.”
Asked if Boko Haram and bandits should be treated with the same swiftness that led to Kanu’s arrest, El-Rufai said, “No! No! No! No! People are comparing apples to oranges.
“Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation. He is identifiable, in constant communication and everyone knows where he is.
“Let’s take Boko Haram for instance. Shekau was in hiding and for the past 10 years and the military had been waging a war to get him.
“It is not like Shekau was in Saudi Arabia, sitting in one place, tweeting about the break up of Nigeria or asking Boko Haram to go and kill Helen and Nasir el-Rufai.
“Nnamdi Kanu is in one place while Shekau is waging guerrilla warfare. The insurgency is still going on and the Federal Government is not giving up.
“Regarding bandits, they are not centralised under one leadership. Who is the head of the bandits? Who is the equivalent of Nmandi Kanu with banditry?
“Bandits are just collections of independent criminals. It is a business for them. It is not a case of Nigeria must break up.
“I want to challenge anyone to tell me the central leader of bandits in the same position as Kanu.”
My response to El-Rufai
I want to take El-Rufai up on his challenge to anyone to tell him the central leader of bandits.
First, El-Rufai should be the one telling us about the leadership of the bandits. He has paid ransom to them – even by his own admission. He is among those who have said some of these herdsmen bandits and terrorists are not Nigerians. So, he knows them.
Some other State governors in Northern Nigeria as well as notable religious leaders in the North have also been paying ransom, visiting and taking photographs with bandits in the forests.
Leaders of Miyetti Allah have on different occasions taken responsibility for terrorist attacks on communities and claimed they were retaliating past wrong done to them. Miyetti Allah has a recognisable leadership structure. But President Buhari, who is a grand patron of this terrorist group, has not rebuked them, let alone order their arrest for their violent crimes.
The federal government and some Northern governors have also been granting amnesty to so called repentant Boko Haram terrorists, ‘rehabilitated’ them, organised grand graduation ceremonies for them and recruited some of them into our armed forces.
These bandits and terrorists cannot be faceless. You don't visit, negotiate and pose for photographs with, and pay ransom to faceless criminals and terrorists. These politicians like El-Rufai and the religious leaders who relate with the bandits know them. They defend, visit and pay ransom to them. They know the business they do with them and are in a better position to tell us about their central leadership.
El-Rufai’s distinction between IPOB and bandits and his attempt to create the impression that bandits and terrorists are not know and therefore cannot be arrested is preposterous, fraudulent, deceitful, misleading and hypocricritical.
IPOB, even with their excesses, are not worse than the bandits and terrorists whom El-Rufai and many Northern political and religious leaders are cavorting with.
•Okechukwu Nwanguma is Executive Director of RULAAC.
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