The Inspector General of Police, (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has reacted to the Katsina State’s amnesty programme put in place for repentant bandits, saying it is not new, as such negotiations will bring peace.
The IGP also stated that the security situation in the country has improved compared to two quarters ago, adding that banditry and kidnapping have decreased.
Briefing State House Correspondents after a security meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Security Chiefs, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Adamu recalled that dialogue and negotiations were used by the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration to solve the militancy problem in the Niger Delta which led to the amnesty programme for the repented militants.
He said: “When we are talking about peace initiative, there are a lot of things that we take into consideration, you give out something to get something. And this peace initiative has not started with the bandits in the North Western part of this country with the bandits.
“If you remember some years back we were having issues in the Niger Delta and those issues kinetic actions could not solve the problem until amnesty and peace initiative came up and what we had had in Niger Delta had gone.
“So, I think part of strategy to deal with challenges in terms of either security or war, there is peaceful negotiation too. So it is not that you are a bandit and on the course of the banditry you committed crime you must be punished when there is peace initiative going on. If you refused to accept the peace initiative of course you have to face the consequences.
“Even in terms of war, you go into dialogue so as to achieve certain level of peace, that is what I am trying to say. So if dialogue can bring peace, why do you have to use force, that is what I am just trying to say.”
Speaking on the alleged reduction of crimes in the country, the IGP stated, “We just finished security meeting and we have noticed within this quarter that the security situation in the country is stable, we make comparism of what has happened in the previous quarters and this quarter and we saw that there is tremendous decrease in kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and even acts of cultism.
“And you can see the situation in Northwest, banditry has reduced tremendously, kidnapping also has gone down and we have statistics to back it.
“And having noticed that, we have been charged by Mr. President to do more. He wants to see a mere zero crime society in the whole of the country. So we have been charged to do more than what we are doing now in fact, in the whole of the country.
“Recently, there have been series of peace initiatives especially the Tiv/Jukun crisis, the federal government came up with initiatives by bringing the leadership of the two states and their traditional rulers and we have been asked to support that initiative and see to it that dialogue succeeds and that there is peace between the Jukun and Tivs.
“We have also been charged to increase security along the pipelines to make sure that crude oil theft is stopped completely because the loss that the country is facing in that area is not tolerated. So we have been charged to increase our security activities in that direction to make sure that crude oil theft is stopped completely.”
On what was done differently to improve security situation in the present quarter, he said, “What we have done apart from the peace initiative and the dialogues that we came up with through organization of security summit is, if you remember we went to the Northwestern zone of this country, we sat down with the traditional rulers and all the governors and the leadership of Miyetti Allah and they identified some of the challenges that are fuelling kidnapping and banditry.
“Those challenges were looked into to the extent that the bandits and kidnappers have decided to release their captives and surrendered their arms, that has contributed and also those that have refused to accept the peace initiative, we have been able to identify their camps especially Abuja/Kaduna road and along Birnin Gwari Niger axis and we went to the camps of these kidnappers and we dislodged some of the camps.
“In fact, in the security briefing we gave specific numbers of the camps that we have destroyed and the casualties the bandits recorded as a result of that. So that has also made them to surrender and some of them relocated. We are following those that have relocated to know the new location and also engage them.”
According to the IGP, the reduction of crime was noticeable in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States.
He said: “For instance, in June, 2019, a total of 111 murder cases were reported nationally, while it reduced to 99 in July and 80 in August.
“183 armed robbery incidents were reported in June, with the rate dropping to
127 in July and 96 in August, 2019.
“Similar decline was noticed in the rate of kidnapping with 134 incidents recorded in June, which declined to 112 in July and further declined to 83 in August.”