As Nigeria grapples with the farmers-herders crisis and the wave of banditry and terrorism in the north, it has become imperative to scold and excoriate some northern leaders and governors who haven't helped the situation with their silly and inflammatory remarks.
Take Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed for instance. The man has been making the case that the Fulani pastoralist be allowed to bear arms.
"The Fulani man has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest, the animals and now the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth...that is the cows. He has no option but to carry AK-47 because the society and the government are not protecting him," Governor Mohammed said in mid February.
Imagine a Nigeria where anyone who is in danger of being attacked carries a gun or two. That's basically Mohammed's logic and it is a flawed, dangerous and detrimental one.
It is the kind of remark that sets the tone for anarchy and a complete breakdown of law and order.
The laws of the land do not even permit anyone, outside of certain law enforcement agencies, to bear arms. But we have a state governor advocating for herders to carry guns on national television. Borderline reckless, bigoted and insensitive!!
And then there is the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani-Bello who wants blanket amnesty and forgiveness for terrorists and bandits.
In the wake of the Kagara abduction of February 17, 2021, Sani-Bello said he is "open to any other form of negotiations including giving a new lease of life to the bandits who choose to abandon their criminal tendencies and embrace positive and humanistic lifestyle."
It's almost as though northern leaders and governors are patting bandits on the back for kidnapping students these days, a white flag in tow; and are ever willing to forgive them without charging them for their crimes.
A few other northern leaders and governors have been spewing the same worrisome "amnesty for bandits" rhetoric--a school of thought that in my opinion, encourages more bandits to raid schools and abduct, safe in the knowledge that they will be monetarily compensated and forgiven.
By far the most insane, hare-brained rhetoric from the north has come from Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, the self-styled, influential Islamic cleric who has been strenuously campaigning for total amnesty for bandits.
"They (the bandits) were persecuted, arrested, lynched. The federal government should give them a blanket amnesty," Gumi, who has been negotiating with the bandits who carried out the Kagara abduction, says.
Gumi is also driving a wedge between the north and south by telling the bandits that soldiers from the south are responsible for their plight.
"What I want you people to understand is: soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims," Gumi tells the bandits. "You know the military has Muslims and non-Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion," he adds.
Gumi is setting up southern soldiers for reprisal attacks and pitting a section of the military against extremist elements. And he knows it.
As you read this, the word on social media is that the bandits who abducted the latest batch of school students in Niger State are in line to receive some hefty ransom for their troubles and may be inducted into some hall of fame afterwards.
The government has denied that it is about to shell out a ransom to rescue the Kagara students but you do get a feeling that we have finally normalized paying for abductions, negotiating with terrorists and quickly assimilating them into society; rather than punishing and trying them for their crimes.
We have incentivized and commercialized the heinous crime that is kidnapping in the north, and we have all these northern politicians and so-called leaders advocating for a soft landing for these criminals. We've finally come full circle.
The best way to deal with terrorism and banditry is to be proactive--that is making sure that the kidnappings and killings do not happen in the first instance. That would take massive investments in equipment procurement for the police, military and intelligence gathering.
Before this happens, we have to tell our politicians who barely know a thing or two about security and who are essentially fanning the embers of war, to stop talking.
You almost get the feeling that these northern politicians are in cahoots or are in bed with these bandits and terrorists.
*Pulse Editor's Opinion is the viewpoint of an Editor at Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the Organisation Pulse.