The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Abubakar, has stated that if communities decide to engage themselves in dialogue with bandits or terrorists, the Federal Government would not be in a haste to condemn such people-driven initiative.
Abubakar however added that the Federal Government did not mandate anyone or group to negotiate with terrorists on its behalf over the abduction of female students of Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State Northwest Nigeria.
Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State had accused the Federal Government of secretly negotiating with the Zamfara terrorists to secure the release of the abducted school girls.
The governor had said he had reports that negotiations were being carried out with some terrorists in various local government areas in the state.
But the defence minister, Abubakar in a statement issued through his spokesperson, Suleiman Haruna, accused the governor of playing politics with the sensitive matter," adding that the allegation is false and misleading as the Ministry has not mandated anybody or group to negotiate on behalf of Federal Government.
He said that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to secure the release of the students and others under captive.
Abubakar, however, expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the parents, the academic community, and the entire citizenry of Zamfara State for the tragic abduction.
"The government, however, maintains its resolve to explore every available avenue that can lead to de-escalation of tension and bring back peace to communities ravaged by banditry, the statement reads.
"However, if communities decide to borrow a leaf from what has helped quench unrest in other parts of the country to engage themselves in dialogue, the Federal Government would not be in a haste to condemn such people-driven initiative.
The Minister assures Nigerians that the federal government and its institutions are working assiduously to turn around the current situation and bring an end to the ebbing cases of banditry, kidnapping and all forms of criminality."
The Minister, however, explained that President Bola Tinubu had given marching order to the military and other security agencies to ensure the release of those that were abducted.
He disclosed that the order has started yielding result, noting that 13 of the abducted students and 3 others have been rescued "just this Monday 25, 2023. This feat was achieved through the professional efforts of the Military."
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