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Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi yesterday stated that bandits are ‘our children’, and should be empowered while being encouraged to drop banditry.
Umahi stated this in Abakaliki when he spoke at the presentation of 40 Toyota Sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans to security agencies to enhance the effectiveness of their operations in the state.
To the surprise of many, the governor declared his intention to negotiate with bandits to ascertain their grievances and the way forward.
Umahi directed local government chairmen and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to identify the bandits and present them for debriefing.
‘I want talk to the bandits and empower them as we cannot continue to kill ourselves and destroy public infrastructure.
‘The bandits are our children and I am pained when they or the security agencies are killed.
‘I want to ascertain their grievances against the Ebonyi or federal government, collate the facts for discussions to commence,’ he added.
He expressed disappointment over the announcement of guidelines for the 2023 elections, noting that the nation was at a crossroads for such engagement.
‘Let us forget about the 2023 elections with the leaders taking responsibility for the situation and discussing for a way forward.
‘No one takes money to the grave and when we hear a gunshot, we will run and abandon the money we amassed.
‘This is not a period to discuss political parties but ensure that the resources of this nation which can truly transform it is judiciously utilised,’ he said.
Umahi debunked the insinuation that members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) or Eastern Security Network (ESN) were after him, insisting that he has discharged his duties to the people.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK