The rising spate of kidnapping and banditry has been one of the front burner issues that ignited heated reactions amongst Nigerians of vast extractions.
Heightening scares across the country, citizens, specifically those from lower class, are unfortuna
tely at the receiving end of the menace.
The development has sadly continued to claim huge lives while simultaneously housing a significant number of facilities destroyed aside from multimillion naira that rolls in as ransoms.
This prompted criticisms from opinion leaders who bicker on the security approaches and responses used in confronting the remnants of the bandits and insurgency currently ravaging the country.
While many prominent figures see dialogue as the best strategy towards addressing the issue, other high influential authorities bicker on the use of dialogue.
For instance, the governors of Zamfara state and Kaduna states from the North-west which recently thrive as epicentre of banditry and kidnapping have dissenting opinions on dialogue with bandits.
While Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state is of the view that dialogue is the best way to tackling the issue his Kaduna state counterpart Nasir El-Rufai disagrees with this view, arguing that dialogue with bandits has over the years proved to be counterproductive and a waste of public resources.
On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari was widely quoted by sections of the media as saying, “My administration will not entertain or succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectations of huge ransom payments.”
The president was further reported to have been urging state governors planning to reward bandits with money and vehicles to desist, warning them that the policy might boomerang disastrously.
Given that the issue at stake is a matter of urgent national importance that craves for effective measures to find lasting solutions to the lingering problems, it is imperative therefore, to review the current security approaches and strategies.
We have recognized to-date, the concerted efforts by stakeholders to dialogue with the bandits which didn’t yield any good fruit.
The state governors, who maintained that dialogue is the answer to address the menace of banditry and kidnapping also have both scientific and logical grounds for their propositions. But in the meantime, I believe, like President Buhari, reprisal attacks on bandits would be more effective than dialogue.
This is because the government has made a lot of sacrifices to pay millions as ransom and even made some steps further to freeing some of the notorious bandits who have been in custody in exchange for the innocent ones in their illicit captivity. Yet, records of fresh kidnaps and banditry are at an alarming rate.
We witnessed, notwithstanding, a number of round-tables between the bandits on one hand and representatives of governments on the other with other individuals, institutions and organisations playing mediatory roles that equally made no appreciable impacts.
Enough! It’s time to employ kinetic approaches. To flush the fools from their hideouts. To trace their sponsors and make them face the wrath of the law.
Dialogue is, of course, one of the key ways of handling issues like banditry and kidnapping but where it fails, as it evidently has in this case, the gallant troops must match forward to police and secure our territories.
Shekarau writes via