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Alhaji Lai Mohammed
There is no harm in holding dialogue with bandits, the Federal Government has maintained.
While speaking during a radio programme monitored in Lagos, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, responded to Nigerians who had spoken against the strategy of dialoguing with criminals.
Bandits had stormed the Government Science College (GSC) Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, and kidnapped several students, members of staff, and some members of their families.
Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, had noted that his government was doing everything to rescue the victims, including facilitating negotiations with the bandits.
While the approach does not seat well with majority of Nigerians, the minister stated that nothing is wrong in dialoguing with bandits, as long as the ultimate objective is to make peace.
Explained Mohammed: “After war, people still sit to dialogue. So if some people have taken it upon themselves to visit these people so that they can embrace peace, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that”.
Speaking further, he noted that the Federal Government would not pay any ransom to secure the release of abductees of GSC Kagara, just as he denied that ransom was paid to secure the release of over 300 children abducted in Kankara, Katsina State.
On the herders-farmers crisis in parts of the country, the minister said the government was taking steps to address it.
He said the steps include plans for intensive cattle-rearing to ensure that cattle rearing and crop farming do not conflict.