I have reviewed my past position on negotiating with terrorists, says El-Rufai


Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said he has reviewed his past position of 2014 when he suggested that the admonition of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan negotiate the release of Chibok girls after they were abducted by Boko Haram.

El-Rufai who is responding to a circulated video of an interview he granted in 2014 where he stated that all options must remain open in rescuing the Chibok girls is being taunted on social media for now saying he will not negotiate the release of students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation and the recent abduction students of Greenfield Private University in Kaduna.

The Governor on Tuesday said while mass abductions was like a novelty in 2014, the facts have now changed adding 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,” he said.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, the Kaduna State Governor stressed that negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but 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,” he said.

He said following the experience of many states in the Northwest since 2015 that included cattle rustling, kidnappings, killings and the devastation of communities by criminals, several states had sought to negotiate their way out of the problems by talking to bandits by paying them money or offering them amnesty. He however stressed that “this has not worked but only encouraged the criminals to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest.”

“The fact that criminals seek to hold us by the jugular does not mean we should surrender and create an incentive for more crime. In today’s Nigeria, it has become fashionable to treat the unlawful demands of bandits as worthy of consideration and to lampoon people who insist that outlaws should be crushed and not mollycoddled or availed the resources they can use to unleash further outrages.”

El-Rufai said his administration was 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. The governor maintained that as a sub-national, with no direct control of any of the security agencies, the state government cannot make its task more difficult by giving criminals the resources to acquire more arms.

While expressing regret at the recent kidnaps and killings of students from tertiary institutions in Kaduna State, he said: “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”.