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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Columnist: David Wole Owaboye

While negotiating with bandits


Sheik Gumi with some of the bandits. Source: @AhmadAbubakarMahmudGumi

It is obvious that banditry has become a means of livelihood in the country as almost every state has witnessed something of the sort one way or the other and are still witnessing.

There is no day that passes by without a report on banditry to the extent that it has become a normal thing and we are gradually getting used to it even though we are aware that a bad thing is bad.

The worrying aspect of the whole thing right now is the fact that both the federal and state governments are almost always in constant negotiation with these bad eggs, which ought not to be.

Why on earth would we be negotiating with criminals, yet we claim we don’t know them? If there is a negotiation that simply means these people are traceable and can easily be apprehended. If so, why are we negotiating with people that have murdered thousands of people in cold blood without any iota of remorse?

If the government thinks that negotiating with these criminals and probably granting them amnesty would make them turn new leaves and become better people in the society, they should better have a rethink as “a monkey will always be on the lookout for bananas”.

If someone who steals a phone is put in jail and faces the wrath of the law, likewise one who fights on the street; if defrauding people is a crime that guarantees a jail term, if breaking and entry is tagged criminal and no one has tried to find a way to bring these people to the table for negotiation or probably rehabilitation, why then are we trying to negotiate with heartless blood suckers who are hell-bent on destroying innocent lives? This is completely absurd.

Families have lost loved ones, some have even lost everyone and the same government has done little or nothing to cushion the effect that dastardly act has left in their bleeding hearts. There are some of them that are homeless as we speak and can’t even find a square meal to eat. Instead of looking for the criminals to negotiate with, the Buhari regime should be fished out rather and given the corresponding punishment while the victims of their senseless acts should be the ones getting palliatives.

We should be tired of playing to the gallery in the name of negotiation and amnesty and rather do all in our power to arrest the situation minus amnesty. The criminals do not deserve it in any way and one can only be entitled to what one deserves, no more, no less.

My problem with these northern state governments is that they more often than not major on the minor and minor on the major thereby putting square pegs in round holes. And questions should be asked with immediate answers expected. If these criminals or bandits or whatever names they bear are no longer faceless as we were meant to believe, what is stopping their arrest? Is there something we are not being told?

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