ABUJA, NIGERIA — The Nigerian Army has dismissed proposals for amnesty to bandits terrorising the North West region of the country.
Instead, they’ve asked regional governors for unrestricted authorization to eliminate these violent factions.
The warning was issued directly to the criminals involved, with the Army asserting that they should leave the country immediately.
Bandits attempting to flee the North West will be blocked from entering other regions, the military has vowed.
Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, communicated this position at the Army Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, during a visit from the Zamfara State governor, Dauda Lawal.
“Your Excellency, I think we need to look at this amnesty program,” Lagbaja said, “The criminal elements have proven to be incorrigible. So, the issue of amnesty has created avenue for them to regroup, re-organize and launch attacks.”
This statement follows calls by the former governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima, for the implementation of an amnesty program similar to the one introduced by the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua for militants in the Niger Delta.
Yerima had asked President Bola Tinubu to negotiate with terror gangs operating not just in Zamfara State, but also in other parts of the Northwest.
However, Lagbaja’s comments indicate a stark divergence in strategy, as the Army’s focus is not on negotiation, but on the elimination of the terrorist threats plaguing the region.
The future of the proposed amnesty program is now in question.