Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna says he will negotiate with bandits.
Mr. El-Rufai restated his position during an expanded meeting of the State Security Council on Tuesday in Kaduna.
The meeting was attended by government officials, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and people from professional associations, trade unions, and civil society groups.
“We will not engage with bandits or kidnappers. Private citizens like clerics and clergymen can do so in their individual capacities, to preach to them and ask them to repent. We also want them to repent. But it is not our job to ask them to do so,” said Mr. El-Rufai.
The best way to solve the farmer-herder violent clashes, cattle rustling, and banditry, according to the governor, is for nomadic herdsmen to live sedentary lives.
He added that this would make them more productive and give their children education and access to better health care.
The governor argued that nomadic cattle breeding was rendered obsolete by urbanisation and population growth.
Mr. El-Rufai said his government was implementing a large ranching project at Damau Grazing Reserve in Kubau local government, which will make about 1,500 herdsmen sedentary.
He explained that the project would enable the herders to raise their cattle in a facility with pasture, school, and primary health centre, with a commercial partner ready to buy their milk.
The governor commended security agencies for their efforts to keep Kaduna residents safe despite the challenges they are facing.
Mr. El Rufai called for decentralising the police force, pointing out that Nigeria is the only federation that operates a unitary police force funded but not controlled by state governments.