From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Alhaji Aminu Sani Jaji has said that those governors negotiating with bandits to lay down arms are playing politics with the whole issue of insecurity instead of finding out the motive and strength of the killer gangs as part of measures to finding solutions to banditry, particularly in the north.
Alhaji Jaji was APC Zamfara State gubernatorial aspirant in the 2019 elections, and he was until then member of House of Representatives from Kaura-Namoda/Birnin-Magaji constituency of Zamfara State.
He was Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Intelligence and Security.
In this interview with Journalists in Kaduna, the ex-law maker said only government can end banditry and insecurity generally, but added that if given the opportunity he can end banditry within three months.
He however, advised that security agencies should work with Kaduna based Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gummi to help him finish the negotiation he had started some weeks ago with some bandits in Kaduna and Zamfara forests.
Also, speaking on APC reconciliation of factions in Zamfara State, the former gubernatorial candidate of the party, who is informally eyeing the guber seat in 2023, noted that the implication of the reconciliation is that Zamfara will fall back to APC in 2023 elections.
He therefore advised the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to get prepared to pack its luggage and baggage in 2023.
“The issue of banditry and other nefarious activities currently are happening in not only Zamfara State, but many parts of the country. But the decision of the Islamic scholar to meet with the bandits is a welcome development, but the only fear that I have is that, I know what it takes for somebody or an entity or group to canvass for issue of amnesty for bandits. Reconciliation with the bandits is one of the difficult tasks even for the government.
“I said it one time that, before you reconcile with people of that character, the fundamental thing you need to know about them is their strength, the motive and the people or the channels that are involved in the crime. That means, you need to have a privileged or intelligence information regarding how they operate, how they source materials, how they interact, how they relate and how they engage among others.
“I saw the way the Sheikh Gummi group were doing it, but for me, it is too local to be accepted because there is no way you operate in something like that, there are so many things that need to be involved. If they say they want to agree or they surrender to a scholar or to a group or whatsoever, how many weapons have they surrendered before you? Then, what about the sources of getting this weapons and other things?
“We should not forget that, this banditry is now like a business, there many chains and many people involved in that business. So, we have to manage them one by one, which an individual or group cannot do, it is only government that can do it. And I said it that, majority of the Governors that are engaging in reconciliation with these bandits, are more political than conventional.
“So, this decision taken by Sheikh Gummi, I think there is need for the security agencies and other Governors to come together to conclude what he started, because he has started, he cannot finish it, that is the reality; people that know the intricacies of this banditry know where I am heading to”
On the APC reconciliation, Alhaji Jaji said, “The journey in respect of this reconciliation started since last year. So, today, I can say God has proven right with I have said before, that as long as we desire to move our party forward and we care about the people of Zamfara State, we must come back together as one. And that is the reason I took a bold decision in November 2019 by reconciling my position with the former Governor and his faction, so as to manage the perception and the challenges bedeviling our party in our dear State.
“Well, from what has happened about this reconciliation, let me say we are all people of faith; reconciliation is an integral part of our religion and we must abide by that. Apart from that, you can only succeed if you come together, forget the fact that APC is an opposition party in Zamfara State, we all know that, Zamfara is a stronghold of the APC, but because of the crisis that erupted, in 2018, we lost everything, but we have no regret whatsoever because it was ordained by Allah that such thing must happen, we are only ambassadors of executing God plans and we cannot run away from that.
“By and large, this reconciliation is sending a clear message to the incumbent Governor and other people holding positions from the state assembly, the National Assembly and others, that we are really ready to reclaim our state from them. So, the implication of this reconciliation is very simple, in as much as we have reconciled sincerely, understand our differences and ready to manage them well, we are as good as having our State reclaimed from the PDP in 2023.
“I told the former Governor, Alhaji AbdulAziz Yari Abubakar that, you can provide leadership with interest, but not with sentiment. If you provide leadership with interests, that means your leadership will be accepted by all and sundry, but if you provide leadership with sentiment, I think nobody will accept that. So, he promised to provide good leadership and that is why we all agreed and surrendered to him that, he is the leader of the party”.