Shehu Rekep, leader of a bandit group based in Zamfara State, has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari should personally preside over dialogue with them.
Rekep said this in an interview with Daily Trust.
The bandits’ leader revealed that he went into criminality because of the neglect of Fulanis in the country.
When asked when he went into banditry, he said: “It has been long. It was not long after Zamfara was created.
“The reason is that we have been neglected. This country is rich with natural resources, but we (the Fulani) have not been educated, we are not protected, we get killed, but we are always reported as the aggressors. We are never considered in anything, we only get killed”.
He further revealed that a peace deal was reached with them a few years ago, but leaders in the country were not committed to it.
According to him, the number of Nigerians who gets killed every day by bandits will make anyone cry, including President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the last time pastoralists benefitted from the Federal Government was under late general Sani Abacha.
“There was a peace accord and we stated our grievances and what should be done, but we were abandoned. You asked for armistice and that was agreed, but you left that person in the forest with a gun and nothing to substitute. What do you expect?” he stated.
“How do you want that person to survive? Of all the promises made to us, none was fulfilled. What we demanded was to be treated the same way as their children, who are enrolled in schools and given jobs. Hausa, Yoruba and the Fulani should be treated equally.
“The president should personally come and preside over the talks. When he was campaigning he travelled all over, why would he not do it now? He does not take these peace talks seriously and everyday people are being killed.
“There is no day that someone is not killed in Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto and Katsina. No two days pass without someone getting killed in these places. And there is no tribe that is not affected. Bandits kill, soldiers kill, vigilantes kill too. Anyone you see with a gun kills. People get killed everyday. You may not know, but if I told you the situation of things in this country you will cry. Even the president will cry.
“We are even giving consideration for dialogue under this administration because we thought the president would be the one to put Nigeria back in shape. But we discovered that he could not fix the country from the time he praised Obasanjo, the late Yar’adua and Jonathan.
“These people are not praiseworthy. It would have been better if he praised Abacha because under him, pastoralists were educated and there was allocation in the budget for nomadic communities. There has not been anything like that since Obasanjo became president.”