The Federal Government has said that the accusation in certain quarters that it treats bandits with kid-gloves is ‘erroneous and misleading’.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday when he featured on the Nigeria Television Authority programme, “Good Morning Nigeria’’.
Speaking on the renewed onslaught against bandits on the programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, the minister said banditry is criminality with no basis on religion or ideology.
He said the approach of the federal government through the military in treating criminals is not to make a distinction between bandits and terrorists.
“I think we have been dancing around nomenclature, a criminal is a criminal whether it is a bandit or terrorist and the same measure is being meted out to them.
“That is why we find it ridiculous, the accusation that the federal government is softer on bandits than the separatists and other criminals. This is a fallacy, fake news and misinformation all into one, and this is the kind of divisive rhetoric being promoted by some naysayers,’’ he said.
Mohammed said it is senseless for the military to treat bandits, who are killing soldiers and policemen, with kid-gloves.
He added that the method of the military in fighting criminality through the land and air would not allow for any distinction between bandits and other criminals.
Mohammed said with the renewed onslaught against bandits and certain measures taken by the governors of the states where bandits are operating, they are winning the war.
He said the governors had learnt from the mistakes of the past and had resolved that they would not negotiate with bandits but to go after them and not spare them.
Mohammed said measures, such as suspension of mobile telecommunication networks in certain areas and the ban on the sale of petroleum products in jerry cans at filling stations around the land borders are yielding results.
He added that the ban on the sale of fairly used motorcycles in some markets and restriction on the use of “junction motor parks’’ in the states are also yielding results.