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We Won’t Negotiate – El-Rufai Insists After Bandits Release Fresh Video Of Kidnapped Students

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The Nasir El-Rufai government in Kaduna State has insisted that it would not surrender or negotiate with bandits terrorizing the state.

This is as it re-affirmed its resolve to work with the federal government and all security agencies to ensure all criminals are brought to book.

El-Rufai made the submission on Tuesday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye.

The statement is a direct reaction to criticisms that followed the unearthing of a video clip in which Gov. El-Rufai had berated ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for not negotiating with the abductors of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.

It also comes on the same day that bandits responsible for the abduction of students from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna released a fresh video of the victims in their custody.

The 2 minutes, 20 seconds video which was recorded in the night in an undisclosed location, shows the students lined up and looking unkempt.

However the Kaduna State government has insisted that there is no going back on its policy of not negotiating with bandits.

“The years since 2014 may have led some people to forget the denial and doubt that defined the Federal Government’s response to the Chibok abductions, especially the initial refusal to acknowledge that it happened.

“That was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government,” it said.

It added 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.

“The experience of many states in the Northwest of Nigeria since 2015 has included cattle rustling, kidnappings, killings and the devastation of communities by criminals.

“Several states sought to negotiate their way out of the problems by talking to bandits, paying them money or offering them amnesty.

“This has not worked and has only encouraged the criminals to press ahead for a surrender of the public treasury to them. That is clearly not in the public interest.

“Mass abduction was like in novelty in 2014. But the facts have changed since then.

“Negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but these 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.”

The statement noted the steps that have been activated to tackle security challenges in the state and ensure the safe return of kidnapped students.

It also commiserated with the families of Greenfield University students that were killed by bandits after they were abducted from their school.

“We are 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,” it added.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday agreed to set an appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari to enable all 109 Senators to meet with him in a closed session to discuss security matters.

It mandated the Joint Committees on Foreign Affairs; Defence and National Security to engage the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, on the regional implications of the recent development in Chad.

The Senate also resolved to summon the Service Chiefs to brief lawmakers on steps taken so far to address the rising spate of insecurity in Nigeria.

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