From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Niger State Government has pardoned 13 suspected armed bandits that were arrested by security operatives along Kontonkoro axis in Magama Local Government Area of the state.
He made the disclosure at the weekend during the 2nd General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture, saying that, the bandits made their demands as Nigerians.
While delivering a lecture titled “Good Politics At The Service of Peace: The role of Eminent Persons In The Prevention and Management of Conflict in Nigeria” at JLK ICC however blamed certain politicians for heightening tensions and insecurity in the country with their utterances and actions.
“We signed a peace pact with them (bandits) and there is no better day to enforce that peace than today being World’s Peace Day, and I am pleased to inform you that since we had the Understanding, there has been peace in that part of the state.
“We have expended a lot of resources using military solutions but at the same time we have decided to go into dialogue. And we found out that the dialogue we engaged in, is beginning to yield positive results in some parts of the state,” he stated.
The governor while declaring that the World Peace Day is a better time to enter a peace pact, the governor said “in our last meeting, we had an agreement and we requested from them to stop their activities and they also requested from us to release some of their members that were presumed to be unlawfully detained as part of steps to resolve the menace and to get peace.
“They are here today, these are people who feel oppressed; they have not been captured in the federal and states’ budgets; these are people that their ways of living and survival have not received the desired attention; these are people that are aggrieved; these are people that have been attacked.
“They feel they have been forced into carrying weapons and other dangerous weapons. We opened dialogue with them to stop their activities within a certain district or a certain part of the State.”
Bello also said that the bandits made their demands as Nigerians, adding that “they have their prices; they have their worries; they also want to live in the comfort of homes but they are forced to remain in the bush”.
He further condemned the support being given to the now proscribed Islam in Movement of Nigeria (IMN) saying that such support was capable of disintegrating the country.
In same vein, former Military Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar has called on Nigerians to eschew all vices of conflicts that can lead to chaos, disunity and promote insecurity in the country.
He urged the youths to embrace virtues of tolerance, fairness and respect for human dignity, adding that Climate change has multiplied effect on the society.