Ndigbo and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) have backed the National Assembly’s call on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists.
The Senate on Wednesday urged President Buhari to declare bandits terrorists, wage total war against them, including bombing all their locations to annihilate and eliminate them, while the House of Representatives yesterday backed the Senate in its call to declare bandits and their sponsors as terrorists.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural group led by Prof. George Obiozor said the call by the Senate and House of Representatives was long overdue.
According to Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, “We wondered why the delay from the Senate and House of Representatives coming out to tell the presidency to declare bandits as terrorists because they have all definitions of terrorism.
“These are people that engage in killing, kidnapping, destruction and many more, so they are criminals and worse than terrorists.
“We are totally in support of the call by the Senate and the House of Representatives on President Buhari to declare the bandits terrorists and this should be done urgently to avert more blood shedding in Nigeria.”
Similarly, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has described as shameful and belated the call by the Senate and House of Representatives that President Buhari should declare bandits as terrorists.
The socio-cultural organisation said that it was a shame that for a very long time the bandits have been terrorising citizens and wondered why the Federal Government and the National Assembly didn’t see them as terrorists.
Dr. Isuwa Dogo, National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, said that by their action, the bandits met every criteria to be declared terrorists.
He said, “The whole world has seen the bandits as terrorists except the Nigerian government and members of the National Assembly. To begin to call for it now is belated. However, it is better than nothing. They have been terrorists for a very long time. A group which has declared war on Nigerians. The kind of war that they engage in is even worse than a civil war.
“The kind of insecurity that we have in the country perpetuated by this group is unprecedented. The kind of destruction of lives and property is beyond our imagination. Everything that this group does is an act of terrorism. They are really long overdue to be declared terrorists,” he said.
But Chief Bode George, former National Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic (PDP), said that it is not just enough to call President Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists but should also address the root cause of banditry, by ascertaining the reason for which the bandits indulge in the act.
George maintained that members of the National Assembly should go further to ensure that the issues which led them to be bandits are addressed, stressing that the issue of poverty, hunger, lack of shelter and other forms of deprivation should not be ignored.
“The National Assembly should go a step further to find out why this people do want they do and address them. If you declare them bandits and you do not address the root cause of the problem, the issue will still be there. The government must look at the problem from a holistic angle,” he said.