The Federal Government says it is difficult to fight bandits because of the terrain in which they operate.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said this when he featured on a Bond FM programme at the weekend.
He said the current administration has invested in tackling insecurity, adding that efforts would be more impactful if citizens support government’s efforts.
Reacting to Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s suggestion of hiring mercenaries, Mohammed said, “Governor El-Rufai spoke out of a deep concern about the situation. He might have spoken out because of the circumstances at which the bandits are emboldened to operate.
“The mercenaries cannot be compared with our security forces; the fight against bandits is a difficult one because of the terrain. We cannot just go with full force to bomb them or else innocent people living around them will be killed and we don’t want that to happen.
“If we employ mercenaries to fight the bandits, we should have it at the back of our minds that they are only mercenaries and not our security personnel who will return to wherever after their task is done.”
The Minister also appealed to Nigerians to join the fight against banditry, saying the Federal Government cannot do it alone.
“We are also pleading with Nigerians to join in this fight because they have a lot of roles to play in tackling this insecurity. This is because these criminals called bandits are living among us; they interact with the people as well.”
“Who are the ones supplying them with food? More so, they also have landlords. People should expose these criminals and then, the various efforts of the government will be effectively complemented and we will see the results.
“We have been trying our best in the fight against the bandits by equipping our security apparatus. The government has purchased aircraft so that they can fight alongside the soldiers. We have not rested on our oars.
“The welfare of the police is also given adequate attention and very recently, this administration recruited 25,000 constables and deployed them to their home states. This will go a long way in community policing.
“It will be easier for the newly-recruited constables to work effectively. There are lots of work in progress in the security infrastructure and personnel,” he said.