President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday ruled out the possibility of the Federal Government’s readiness to grant amnesty to armed criminals terrorising the country, saying his government will continue to deal decisively with bandits, kidnappers and insurgents.
The President who stated this while declaring open the a joint security meeting of Northern State Governors’ Forum, Northern Traditional Rulers Council and delegation from the Federal Government, said it is time to treat criminals as criminals and stop ethnic profiling.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, President Buhari said, the security challenges confronting the nation, has slowed down the emancipation of Nigerians from poverty and economic deprivation, hence he has already directed the security chief to develop plans to end criminality in the land.
In attendance at the meeting were Governors Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state. While others were represented by their deputies.
Traditional rulers in attendance include; the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhamnad Sa’ad Abubakar III, Shehu of Borno, Umar Ibn El-Kenemi, Emir of Kano, Abdullahi Ado Bayero, Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya, Emir of Zazzau and Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamali among others.
The Federal Government’s delegation included Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Deputy Speaker House of Representatives, Ahmed Wase, who represented the Senate President and Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu among others.
While reiterating that, his government will continue to deal with insurgents, bandits and kidnappers, Buhari said he has already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end the ugly security situation where the lives of Nigerians continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
According to the President, “I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence need to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached.
“This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding developmental and progress. We are providing critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports among others which are critical to economic prosperity of our people as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
“I expect that at this meeting, your Forum will also discuss and devise ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at large.
“It is pertinent to note that the increased realization of our security, democracy and development indices are inextricably linked are inextricably linked. Democracy and rule of law promote stability and in turn reinforce the power to assert freedom and economic progress of our people.
“Government also notes with satisfaction the deliberate actions of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum of inclusivity in addressing the challenges of governance and national development. This is demonstrated in today’s event, wherein the Forum intends to receive and deliberate on the reports from Committees that were put in place to critically look at certain challenges of the region.
“I urge that these crucial and robust reports should be assiduously studied and implemented without delay. This is because we are not short of policies, but often faced with challenges of implementation. You will be leaving a landmark in ensuring that the record reports are not left to rot on the shelves but used for the good of all,” Buhari advised
He however commended the Chairman and members of the Northern Governor’s Forum for rising to the occasion to de-escalate the recent tension arising from clashes between herders and farmers which resulted in the loss of lives and properties, saying that, the efforts should be sustained.
The President also challenged the Northern political and traditional leaders on specific challenges of the region bothering on population growth, agriculture value chain development and revival of industries and other economic opportunities for job creation.