Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, has risen in defence of Katsina state’s amnesty programme for bandits, comparing it to the federal government’s amnesty to Niger Delta militants in the past.
The IGP further said the security situation in the country has improved compared to two quarters ago, maintaining that banditry and kidnapping have reduced.
He was briefing state house correspondents after a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs at the presidential villa on Thursday.
This comes after Katsina governor, Aminu Masari, was recently pictured meeting with the leader of bandits in his state – a move that was heavily criticised.
But Adamu 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 did not start with the bandits in the north-western part of this country.
“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.”
Asked if he was comparing the Niger Delta militant agitation to the killings by bandits in the north-west, he replied: “It is not like comparison per se but giving an example how a negotiation and dialogue can bring peace.
“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.”