The Kaduna State Government has reiterated its stance not to negotiate with bandits and insisted that only total annihilation of the criminals would end banditry.
The government was reacting to some commentators who blamed it for asserting that the government would not reward hoodlums.
The criticism of the government followed mass abduction of students and the killing of at least five of them recently.
The commentators had also unearthed a video clip in which Gov. Nasir El-Rufai had berated President Goodluck Jonathan for not negotiating with the abductors of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.
The government reaction was contained in a statement issued by Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, issued in Kaduna on Tuesday.
It explained that the stance of the El-Rufai over the 2014 kidnap of Chibok girls was based on the circumstances at the time.
“The years since 2014 may have led some people to forget the denial and doubt that defined the Federal Government’s response to the Chibok abductions, especially the initial refusal to acknowledge that it happened.
“That was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government,” it said.
It added that, “Nigeria’s journey since the 2014 Chibok tragedy has proven that the solution to violent crimes, including terrorism and banditry, is a robust response from the state and its coercive agencies.
“The quantum of money paid as ransom following many negotiations with bandits have not stopped kidnappings, reduced their frequency or deterred the criminals.
“The experience of many states in the Northwest of Nigeria since 2015 has included cattle rustling, kidnappings, killings and the devastation of communities by criminals.
“Several states sought to negotiate their way out of the problems by talking to bandits, paying them money or offering them amnesty.
“This has not worked and has only encouraged the criminals to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest.
“Mass abduction was like in novelty in 2014. But the facts have changed since then.
“Negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but these have not stopped the criminals. It has only encouraged them.
“It is only prudent to review one’s position when the facts change, and the suggestion made by a citizen years ago cannot be taken as the immutable answer to a serious problem which has evolved since 2014, no matter the viral replays of the said video clip.”
The statement stressed that the state has been consistently transparent about its security challenges and support to security agencies.
“We are engaging the Federal Government to have security responses that move away from reactive response of repelling bandits towards a comprehensive, proactive offensive that takes the battle to the criminals and uproots them,” it added.
The state government reminded that it has no direct control of any of the security agencies and will not compound the job of security agencies by giving criminals the resources to acquire more arms.
The government stressed that it was deeply concerned about the recent kidnaps and killings of some students in tertiary institutions, and sympathised with their families.
“We mourn the dead students and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
“The ruthless and heartless resort of the kidnappers to murdering these young persons is part of their effort to further their blackmail and compel us to abandon our ‘no-ransom, no-negotiation’ policy.”
It added that the government would not surrender to the antics of the criminals or create an incentive for them to commit more crime. (NAN)