The Secretary to the Government of Niger State (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, has appealed to bandits across the State to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue.
Matane made the plea at Dutsen Magaji, Mariga Local Government Area of the State, while addressing bandits and their commanders.
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The SSG, who was accompanied by a renowned Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, further called on other criminal elements like the kidnappers and cattle rustlers to join in the peace dialogue process.
He enjoined the bandits’ commanders to support the government to secure the release of the abducted passengers of Niger State Transport Authority and students of Government Science College, Kagara, adding that the unfortunate incidents in recent days called for a sober reflection.
He reaffirmed that the government will continue to ensure the security of lives and property through strengthening the security architecture of the State.
The SSG stressed the need for religious leaders and other stakeholders to help get the bandits, kidnappers, and cattle rustlers to key into the peace initiatives of the government.
Dialogue, the only option – Gumi
In his remarks, Sheikh Gumi expressed optimism that dialoguing with the bandits will put an end to the current insecurity in the State and country at large.
Sheikh Gumi reminded the bandits that Islam is against taking the lives of innocent people and appealed to them to embrace peace by laying down their arms.
Some of the commanders in their separate remarks applauded the state government for the peace process, stressing that it would go a long way in restoring peace across the state.
The bandits appealed to the state government to release their members arrested by security agencies and detained across the state for the peace process to thrive.
The highlight of the occasion was the distribution of Islamic books to the bandits by Sheikh Gumi for them to learn the doctrine of Islam.