The Nigerian government has said there is nothing wrong in dialoguing with bandits.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this while speaking on a radio programme on Sunday.
According to NAN, Mohammed stated that nothing is wrong in dialoguing with gunmen, so long as the ultimate objective is to make peace.
“After war, people still sit to dialogue. So if some people have taken it upon themselves to visit these people so that they can embrace peace, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” the minister explained.
Speaking further, he noted that Nigerian government would not pay any ransom to secure the release of abductees of the Government Science College (GSC) Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
Gunmen suspected to be bandits had on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, stormed the school and kidnapped several students, members of staff, and some members of their families.
Governor Abubakar Bello had noted that his government was doing everything to rescue the victims, including facilitating negotiations with the bandits.
A day after the attack, popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, who is known to have access to the bandits, met some of them in a notorious forest in Niger and later pushed for them to be granted amnesty.
The Zamfara state government in January granted amnesty to Auwalun Daudawa, the leader of the gang of bandits that abducted over 300 schoolboys in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State last December.
Daudawa and his gang on December 11, 2020 invaded the school, shooting indiscriminately to scare residents. The operation led to the disappearance of over 300 students.
The abduction happened when President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting his home state of Katsina.
After their release on December 17, 2020, Matawalle said the boys were rescued through the help of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and that no ransom was paid.
The Nigerian government also granted amnesty to about 600 repentant Boko Haram terrorists last year, a development that attracted public outrage.