Ango Abdullahi, chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has urged the Federal Government to rehabilitate bandits who are willing to lay down their weapons.
Abdullahi said this on Wednesday while making a presentation at the northern people’s summit in Kaduna.
He said government should only use force against criminals who do not want to desist from crime.
While speaking, he also suggested that the government should resolve the crisis involving bandits, like it did with Niger Delta militants who were offered amnesty.
“Those elements that show a genuine willingness to abandon criminality should be rehabilitated and integrated. Those who insist on pursuing criminality should be stoutly resisted by the Nigerian state and by communities,” he said.
“Those who attack and kill northerners must be stopped and be prosecuted.
“The entire phenomenon of armed criminality requires bold steps and policies to deal with it, and we should examine these and make our recommendations to those with responsibility to implement them.
“Even at this stage, however, I have to say that dealing with criminality, poverty, and destitution in the north will require a national effort to mitigate.
“The nation needs to prepare to consider massive investment in human capital development, infrastructure, and basic security if it will reverse the rising tide of frustrations, destitution and criminality which afflicts most of the north.
“Those who see this as an unnecessary concession to the region need to be reminded that this was precisely the approach that substantially resolved the Niger Delta militancy.
“The north needs not make this demand in hushed tones, or apologise for them.”
He said banditry, insurgency, cultism, piracy and irredentism are threats to the nation, and they must be treated with an approach that appreciates their roots.
He called on federal and northern state governments to design and implement plans for the domestication of herders, and also promote policies to improve the quality of life of Fulani herder communities.