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Arewa leaders want bandits, kidnappers tagged as terrorists

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Bandits. Photo/VOANEWS

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Arewa leaders have called on the Federal Government to immediately declare those involved in armed banditry and kidnapping in the country as terrorists, saying that Nigeria will not be at peace until they are wiped out.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) warned that it was the activities of the terrorists in the country that led some groups to be agitating for the split of Nigeria.

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Reacting, yesterday, to the arrest of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu over their separatist agenda, the National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, said: “Nigeria will not live in peace, if this banditry and kidnapping continue, however the North is the worst hit.

“They are all terrorist organisations. Kidnapping and banditry should be declared as terrorism, and those involved should be seen as running terrorist organisations. We are not happy that Leah Sharibu, the Chibok girls and all the students kidnapped in Kaduna and other places are still in captivity.”

The group noted the North’s backwardness in education and yet terrorists target schools and scare pupils away from schools.

HOWEVER, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has urged the military authorities to investigate claims by villagers that soldiers are involved in attacks on innocent locals.

It said that despite the onslaught by the Fulani militia against the communities in Southern Kaduna, the Federal Government seemingly remained unperturbed.

SOKAPU, therefore, alleged complicity in the attack and killings by Fulani herders in several communities in many parts of the troubled zone.

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In a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, the President of SOKAPU, Jonathan Asake, said: “It is sadly unbelievable that 10 days after the massacre and displacement in our communities, from all observable indices, there appears to be a conspiracy of silence or deliberate attempt by the government to downplay the severity of the atrocities and genocide being perpetrated by these attackers across our communities.”

CHAIRMAN, House of Representatives Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas, and Head, European and International Cooperation of Konrad Adenauer Tiftung (KAS), Dr. Vladimir Kreck, have described attackers of The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jet in Zamfara State as terrorists and not bandits.

Speaking at an ongoing capacity building workshop on conflict reporting for journalists organised by KAS and Premium Times Centre for investigative journalism (PTCIJ), in Abuja, the duo urged newsmen to identify criminals properly, given the kind of sophisticated weapons they carry and their capacity to bring down a fast-flying attack jet.

They noted that the security situation in the country was deteriorating by the day, which called for decisive action against the activities of bandits, while expressing fear that the enemies might be winning.

Specifically, Namdas noted that terrorists should be called by no other name.

He said: “We should be able to define who is actually a terrorist or cattle rustler because those who are called bandits have moved one step forward because of the kind of weapon they use. If a bandit can go to the extent of bringing down a fighter jet, that is no longer banditry but terrorism.

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“The media should help to unravel the identity of these people. This is more than banditry, and calling them the right name would help us to tackle them. If I don’t have the knowledge of who these people are, it means even in terms of resource allocation, there is no way we can allocate 9the right) resources.”

On his part, Kreck said: “There is insecurity in Nigeria’s North West, North East, South East and South West. It is important for journalists to report these conflicts. The House Committee Chairman on Army has given the insight.

“Those that shot down the military plane should not be called bandits anymore because of the kind of work they do. You can’t call armed robbers bandits. Terrorists could be a proper name for them.”

One of the lecturers at the seminar, Prof. Isaac Albert from University of Ibadan (UI), frowned on the information gap often left by government spokespersons, saying this sometimes triggers conflict in the country.

Publisher of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, hinted that a journalist’s first obligation “is to the truth and their loyalty is to the people and not the government or their spokespersons.”

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