Politicians are Nigeria’s biggest bandits – Odinkalu

FORMER Chairman of Nigeria Human Rights Commission and Professor of Law Chidi Odinkalu has said that Nigerian politicians are the biggest bandits.

Speaking at a webinar organised by The ICIR on Thursday on banditry and security challenges in Nigeria, Odinkalu explained that discussions on banditry would not be complete without mentioning politicians.

He explained that there was no justification for Fulanis to carry arms against the state and its people.

Prof Chidi Odinkalu and Prof Usman Yusuf
Prof Chidi Odinkalu and Prof Usman Yusuf

“Nobody has monopoly of grievances. Several other Nigerians could possibly argue that Fulanis have dominated the country. This is an uncomfortable conversation, but I do think Nigerians must have the conversation about grievance and domination and hegemony,” Odinkalu said.

“If everyone who has a grievance resorts to shooting, there is not just going to be enough people to be destroyed in the country,” he stated.

Nigeria’s politicians have severally been accused of stealing and corruption. Several politicians have been successfully prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for stealing from the coffers of world’s poverty capital.  Activities of politicians are said to be one of the major causes of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping ravaging the country, particularly in the Northern part.

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    Former  Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Usman Yusuf explained that banditry was a social problem,  and not a military issue.

    Yusuf, who was a keynote speaker at the event, explained that he had been involved in dialoguing with the bandits because insecurity in the country could consume Africa’s biggest economy.

    He called on the Federal Government and all stakeholders to dialogue with bandits to hear their own side of the story.

    He frowned at what he described as government increasing militarisation of what was essentially a social problem and emphasised that dialogue was the best option to end banditry and kidnapping in the nation. “There is a crucial role for the military, but there is no military solution to this conflict,” he stated.

    Blessing Otoibhi is a Multimedia Journalist and Anchor host for the News in 60 seconds at The International Center For Investigative Reporting. You can shoot her a mail via [email protected] or connect on Twitter @B_otoibhi

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