Editors Back Buhari, Caution State Governors on Dialogue with Bandits
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has said thrown its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari, saying having dialogue with bandits should be discouraged as it would not yield any positive result.
A communiqué of the standing committee meeting of the NGE held on Thursday, in Lagos State, said the body “believes that dialogue and amnesty for bandits have not been positively impactful and therefore, it should be discouraged.”
The communiqué, signed by NGE’s president and general secretary, Mustapha Isah and Mary Atolagbe respectively, said “The Guild aligns with the advice of President Muhammadu Buhari to state governors, to stop giving cash and other materials, such as vehicles to bandits, because such overtures could empower them to carry out more abductions.”
President Buhari has ealier said his administration will not entertain or succumb “to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”
He also urged state governors planning to reward bandits with money and vehicles to desist, warning them that the policy might boomerang disastrously.”
His spokesman, Garba Shehu quoted him in a press release on Friday to have said “latest abduction of hundreds of students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State as inhumane and totally unacceptable, sending out a strong warning to bandits and their sponsors.
Shehu said Buhari vowed that “no criminal group can be too strong to be defeated by the government,” adding that, “the only thing standing between our security forces and the bandits are the rules of engagement.”
“We have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operate, but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits,” he said, stressing that “our primary objective is to get the hostages safe, alive and unharmed.”
The president was said to have warned the bandits: “Let them not entertain any illusions that they are more powerful than the government. They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or irresolution.”
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