From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
A coalition of non- governmental organizations in Northern Nigeria has condemned the use of tax payers’ money by state governors to pay ransom to bandits who abduct innocent Nigerians, .
The coalition namely Citizens for Education and Development, Organization for Community Civic Engagement, Kano State Traders Unions, Nigeria Environmental Society, Nigeria Labour Congress (Women wing) among others disclosed this during at a press conference Wednesday in Kano, accusing the governors of funding and encouraging more terrorism and legitimizing criminality.
Speaking under the umbrella “Non State Actors Consultative Forum (NOSACOF)” they observed that the bandits use the money paid to them by these state governors to purchase more weapons and expand their terror activities across new areas.
“Sometimes they negotiate with one state, and use such state as a safe haven to lay low to avoid the wrath of our military or to keep victims they kidnapped from states” they added.
The forum noted that some of the states that initially opted for the option of negotiating with the bandits have also not been spared from the violent and deadly wrath.
The Forum aligned with the position of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno, who is opposed to negotiating with the bandits, stressing that,”The most effective and international adopted method of fighting terrorist is by the use of force as negotiating with terrorist never works.
They stated that, “Negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means.
“ Such talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent”.
“We call on the Federal Government to adopt more effective military practices and built on the existing citizen economic empowerment programs in order to bring an end to the insecurity bedeviling the country” they stated .
“We also call on government at all levels to stop granting amnesty for bandits, terrorists and abductors unless a serious commitment to peace has been demonstrated from their part. As evidence has shown the ransom paid to criminal gangs is used to purchase arms and ammunition to attack more communities.
“We call on government to spend strategically on security by considering building technology driven security architecture, and must acquire the necessary equipment to deal with the menace of terrorism, banditry and abduction. In a moment like this Nigerians would not mine any price tag to secure the nation” they stated.