Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has declared that his government does not believe in repentant terrorists or bandits.
The Governor said the only repentant bandit is the one that is dead.
El-Rufai said this while briefing newsmen after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
He expressed concern about the inability of the security agencies to access the locations of the bandits troubling his state, noting that these issues informed his visit to meet President Buhari and avail him details of the security situation in his state, where terrorists killed some 40 persons a few days ago.
El-Rufai said people who engaged in terrorism or banditry never ever repented, but could only be stopped by death. He added that his government was convinced it was its duty to end the reign of terror by dispatching terrorists to meet their Creator.
He said: “There is nothing like repentant terrorists (or bandits). The only repentant bandit is the one that is dead. Our intention in the state is to kill them (bandits/terrorists), let them go and see God.”
The governor, however, said the recent declaration of bandits by the Federal High Court as terrorists had provided an avenue to fight them without limits.
“So, no one will be dragged to the international court, because you killed bandits. No,” he said, emphasizing that Kaduna State would not negotiate with bandits, as its policy was to kill them all.
“They are bandits. If you want to call them terrorists you can call them terrorists, but we don’t want to confuse them with terrorists that we know, the Boko Haram. IPOB has been declared terrorists. We don’t call them terrorists, we call them IPOB. The nomenclature doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are now fair game for the armed forces.
“Once you say banditry of whatever description has been designated terrorists, that’s it. That gives the military the power to do what they do. What we call them is not important. What they are called does not matter, but it is the legal status of being declared terrorists that matters. The legal status is that they have been declared terrorists but which terrorists? There are many terrorists in Nigeria. Boko Haram are terrorists. Ansaru are terrorists.
“The ones that we have in Kaduna are bandits that have now been declared terrorists. These are people that rob, they kill, they kidnap for ransom. We call them bandits to differentiate them from the rest but they are terrorists.”
The governor acknowledged that the security agencies were doing their best, but said their efforts were not enough.
He said: “So, you have to understand the limitations that they face before you conclude that they are not doing enough. They are doing a lot. But is it enough? Certainly, not. Much more needs to be done.
“But can they do more with the number of policemen they have and the number of soldiers? I don’t know. We need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigeria Police; we need to ramp up recruitment in the Nigerian armed forces.
“We have too few number and our armed forces are overstretched. They are operating in several states, about 33 states, the last time we checked, and how many are they? So, we must understand the constraint that they face and sympathise with them.
“But with the acquisition of more advanced equipment from Jordan, China, Turkey and the United States, we expect that the kinetic capabilities of our armed forces will be greatly improved. So, we hope to see the end of this insecurity.”
The governor, however, said despite the level of insecurity in Kaduna, the state had continued to attract investments even though it could have been better.
He stated, “Kaduna State is a huge state. We have 46,000 square kilometres. So, the fact that there is insecurity in one part does not mean there’s insecurity everywhere. It’s not Lagos; it’s not a small place at all.
“Yes, we’ve had investment summit and they have been very successful. In the last five years, we have attracted nearly $3billion in investments, in spite of all these stories about insecurity, because investors know that large parts of Kaduna State are quite safe; they are safe as anything.”