Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman has declared bandits operating in Nigeria’s North-West and North-Central as terrorists.
PGF is the body of Governors elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform.
On Thursday, Lukman condemned the position by Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and others that bandits are not terrorists.
“Self-appointed counsels to the bandits, such as Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, are becoming more confident, and irresponsibly mobilising opposition against declaring bandits’ terrorists”, he fumed in a statement.
Lukman said all the studies about insecurity and banditry in Nigeria confirmed that the outlaws have all the characteristics of terrorist groups.
He cited the study Dr Murtala Ahmed Rufa’i presented in Sokoto at the 15th Usman Danfodio University Seminar Series on September 9.
Titled “I am a Bandit – A Decade of Research in Zamfara State Bandit’s Den”, the report found that bandits have contacts across the Sahel, particularly Libya and Mali.
It revealed bandits were in possession of more that 500 AK-47 guns, weapons like RPGs and Anti-Aircraft.
“The report indicated that there are over 60,000 weapons in circulation’ in the North-West alone”, the PGF DG noted.
Lukman said how APC can facilitate the reform of information management structures and mobilise citizens to support government initiatives will determine its electoral viability.
The politician wondered how the ruling party allowed “false national debates” such as the agreement between Nigeria and the United States on the use of 12 new Super Tucano fighters.
Lukman declared that it indicated a weak communication management framework, “which may only worsen the challenges facing the country”.