Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has said the menace of bandits and kidnappers would have been resolved once and for all by the military if it was not for the fear of being dragged before the International Court of Justice, ICC.
The Governor made the remark while speaking at the weekly ministerial press briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to him, while he had campaigned for the bandits to be classified as terrorists, there were some pushbacks on the ground that they do not have a recognized leadership structure.
El-Rufai said he was delighted over the court ruling, which recently declared the bandits as terrorists and therefore made them “a fair game.”
According to him, dealing with the criminality permanently would require simultaneous ground and air attacks in all the states hosting the criminals to prevent them from escaping.
He said the locations of the terrorists has never been a mystery, insisting that they must be wiped out at once rather than the present piecemeal approach if the problem must be solved.
He also said the Fulanis who are involved in the criminality will never abandon the business on their own because they make far more money from it than they would have made from the legitimate cattle business.
El-Rufai affirmed that kidnapping and terrorism had since become business but with the added element of collaborating with Boko Haram even as he said the effort to tackle the menace had been uncoordinated.
He said some state governors that thought negotiating with the criminals would end the problem later realized that it was a mistake.
He revealed that northwest state governments began a process of cooperation and co-financing the military operation against cattle rustling.
He regretted that the operation was not sustained as some of them backed out after some success was recorded only for kidnapping to take centre stage.
According to the el-Rufai, in the reported cases, while 937 were killed and 1,972 kidnapped by bandits in the state in 2020, a total of 1,192 were killed and 3,348 kidnapped in 2021, suggesting a deterioration in the situation.
He advocated the recruitment of more hands and procurement of sufficient equipment, adding that the lack of capacity of Nigeria’s security agencies in terms of adequate personnel and equipment was also creating a hindrance to ending insecurity.