Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, says Katsina state’s amnesty programme for bandits is not new because “such negotiations will bring peace”.
He said the federal government also granted amnesty to Niger Delta militants in the past.
The IGP further said the security situation in the country has improved compared to the two quarters ago, maintaining that banditry and kidnapping have reduced.
He was briefing state house correspondents after a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs at the presidential villa on Thursday.
Katsina governor, Aminu Masari, was recently pictured meeting with the leader of bandits in his state and has been greeted with criticism.
But Adamu said: “When we are talking about peace initiative, there are a lot of things that we take into consideration: you give out something to get something. And this peace initiative did not start with the bandits in the north-western part of this country.
“If you remember, some years back we were having issues in the Niger Delta and those issues kinetic actions could not solve the problem until amnesty and peace initiative came up and what we had had in Niger Delta had gone.
“So, I think part of strategy to deal with challenges in terms of either security or war, there is peaceful negotiation too. So it is not that you are a bandit and on the course of the banditry you committed crime you must be punished when there is peace initiative going on. If you refused to accept the peace initiative of course you have to face the consequences.”
Asked if he was comparing the Niger Delta militant agitation to the killings by bandits in the north-west, he replied: “It is not like comparison per se but giving an example how a negotiation and dialogue can bring peace.
“Even in terms of war, you go into dialogue so as to achieve certain level of peace. That is what I am trying to say. So if dialogue can bring peace, why do you have to use force? That is what I am just trying to say.”
Adamu said that reduction in crime rate is noticeable in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states.
“For instance, in June, 2019, a total of 111 murder cases were reported nationally, while it reduced to 99 in July and 80 in August,” he said.
“One hundred and eighty-three armed robbery incidents were reported in June, with the rate dropping to 127 in July and 96 in August 2019.
“A similar decline was noticed in the rate of kidnapping with 134 incidents recorded in June, which declined to 112 in July and further declined to 83 in August.”