No amnesty for bandits, terrorists, says Army chief

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has kicked against amnesty programmes for bandits and terrorists in the country.

The army chief said amnesty programmes instituted in many states had failed to achieve their purpose.

According to him, rather than repent, beneficiaries of such programmes see the programme as an avenue to regroup and attack innocent citizens.

Lagbaja spoke when  Zamfara State Governor, Dauda Lawal, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “So, I want to appeal to Your Excellency that as we come up with a strategy to address the issue, the state government should be disposed to the implementation of the measures that we will recommend so that together we will address the activities of these criminal elements.

“We also have the issue of the amnesty programme that has been instituted, and which has failed, not only in the North but also in many other states.

“I think we need to look at this issue of the amnesty programmes. The agreements have proven to be incorrigible and so amnesty has created an avenue for them to reorganise and launch attacks on defenseless citizens. So, I think we need to look at that.”

Lagbaja said the insecurity ravaging Zamfara was a mix of many things such as farmer-herder clashes, ethnic confrontations, and the quest for economic survival.

He said he had directed the deployment of more platforms and the release of more funds to reactivate unserviceable platforms to boost troops’ operations in the state.

Zamfara governor said he was frustrated by insecurity in the state.

Lawal said, “I’m frustrated that Zamfara is facing serious security challenges. I will say without mincing words, Zamfara is the state facing the most challenges in insecurity today. Therefore, for me, being the number one citizen, part of my responsibility is protecting lives and properties.

“It is sad to mention that there is never a day without people being killed in one area or local government or the other. This is very, very worrisome for us because, without security, development can’t take place.

“I cannot do this alone. I need the support of the Chief of Army Staff and his entire team. I need to bring peace to first Zamfara and then Nigeria in general.”

(Punch)