Bandits are terrorists, South West Governors Forum Chair counter Sheik Gumi
By Musa Adenrele
The Chairman, South West Governors’ Forum Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu has countered Sheik Abubakar Gumi on claims that heavily armed bandits operating in the North West are not terrorists.
The Governor said the so called bandits are also terrorists.
Speaking in Abuja, the Ondo State Governor cautioned that it is dangerous to immune criminal activities of kidnapping, bombing and mass killings as mere banditry.
A press statement from the Governors office issued by the Chief Preas Secretary, Richard Olatunde was made available to Irohinoodua.
Akeredolu said “bandits are terrorists” warning that it is unfair to categorise acts of terrorism as banditry.
He said armed attacks on government and private infrastructures like railways and public schools by armed local and foreign elements are nothing but terrorism.
Akeredolu spoke on Monday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja.
He said “In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnap for ransom. We have drug abuse and agitation for self determination. We have always preached the multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security,” he said.
He said further “Yes, you have trespass. Criminal trespass on other people’s land or farm. It falls within the purview of matters that should be treated by the state. But, all we had before Amotekun was a police system that had the duty to arrest and was not prepared to make an arrest. Things are changing and have really changed in Ondo state.
“Today, if you trespass on other people’s land or farm, the Amotekun will go after you and arrest you. They pay compensations to the farmers and when they fail they are in court. It is the only way you can send signals to the people.
“When you commit a crime and the hands of law doesn’t catch up with you, another person will repeat it. I can assure you that when you do not have an effective policing system, there is little or nothing a Governor can do. And the criminal trial is taking too long,” Governor Akeredolu said.
The Governor said: ”Speaking for those of us who have put in place anti-open grazing law. We have our reasons and we have no apologies.
“Grazing routes? Grazing routes to where? It is not going to work. There are things we had in the Past. Don’t let us imagine it now. Time changes. Grazing with AK 47 is an assault. Ban on open grazing, we are doing it effective in Ondo State.
“Nomadic pastoralist is not a new thing. There were nomadic farmers all over the world. I know of people, high ranking who have ranches today. They can showcase their cows.
“Why are we pushing these people out. It is a culture that must be discouraged in the interest of those who are involved. Even with the President order that anyone with Ak47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?