President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday ruled out amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents and armed bandits in the country.
The President stated this at a meeting of governors of the 19 northern states in the country held at the Government House in Kaduna.
The meeting was attended by governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina), Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Mala Mai Buni (Yobe), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
10 other states were represented by their deputy governors.
Also at the meeting were the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, led traditional rulers from the region to the meeting.
Buhari, who was represented at the meeting by Gambari, said his administration would continue to deal decisively with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals who had made life unbearable for Nigerians.
He also urged Nigerians to stop the ethnic profiling of criminals, stressing that all criminals should be treated as such.
The President said: “This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding development and progress.
“We are providing critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports among which are critical to economic prosperity of our people as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.
“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation.
“The government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals constitute innocent threat citizens across the country.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly without resorting to ethnic profiling.
“I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.
“I expect that at this meeting, your Forum (Northern Governors’ Forum) will also discuss and devise ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at last.
“It is pertinent to note that the increased realizations of our security, democracy, and development indices are inextricably linked. Democracy and the rule of law promote stability and in turn, reinforce the power to assert freedom and economic progress of our people.
“This thread of interconnection needs the support of the Northern State Governors’ Forum and the entire citizenry of the country as any amount of positive sacrifice would be beneficial in bringing about national development and security of the nation.”
The Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, had last Friday urged the Federal Government to grant bandits willing to make peace “blanket amnesty” in a bid to tackle the country’s security challenges.
Gumi, who disclosed this to journalists after visiting the bandits’ camps in Niger State, said some of the bandits complained they were being killed and maimed unjustly.