Muhammad Dingyadi, Minister of Police Affairs, has said that the federal government is ready to listen to repentant bandits and settle them.
Dingyadi, who stated this during an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday, noted that the federal government plans to “settle repentant without much cost”.
According to him, the government will pursue the approach as part of the solutions to the security challenge in the North-west and North-central regions of the country.
Commenting on the ongoing military operations against bandits in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and other states, the minister said the present administration intended to reintegrate repentant bandits into the larger society.
Dingyadi explained that the federal government will closely monitor bandits who have turned a new leaf, to ensure that they do not return to their old way of life.
“Anybody willing to surrender and do it honourably and honestly; the government is ready to listen. The government is ready to see what they can do to settle them down without much cost”, he said.
On whether the window of amnesty is still open for bandits willing to surrender, he replied:
“When you talk of amnesty, it is a relative term and what the Federal Government is trying to say is that: ‘Let us see those who have surrendered their arms, let us listen to them, let us chronicle them, let us receive them’; we cannot just throw these people away because they are all Nigerians.
“Of course, they are criminals, they have committed atrocities, they have committed crimes, but according to the international laws, when you surrender from a war zone, you are not killed, you are not maimed, you are allowed to have your say.
“We are listening to them to see how we can integrate them into the larger society. What we are trying to do is to get them settled in their various communities, to let them have a kind of means of livelihood so that they can integrate peacefully and honourably into the society.”