Should Nigeria Be Negotiating With Terrorists and Bandits?


In recent times, Nigeria has faced an upsurge in the activities of terrorists and bandits, leading to the abduction of innocent civilians, including schoolchildren and internally displaced persons. This has sparked debates on whether the government should engage in negotiations with these criminal elements. Kaduna-based Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has been a vocal advocate for dialogue, but is this the right approach?

There are some perceived advantages to negotiating with terrorists and bandits. Firstly, it could lead to the safe release of hostages, thereby preventing harm and trauma to innocent victims. Secondly, it could potentially reduce the incidence of further abductions, as negotiations might deter these criminal elements from future attacks. Lastly, it could provide an opportunity to address the root causes of terrorism and banditry, such as poverty, unemployment, and marginalization, through peaceful means.

However, there are significant drawbacks to negotiating with terrorists and bandits. Firstly, it could embolden these criminal elements, as they may see negotiation as a sign of weakness and continue their nefarious activities. Secondly, it could undermine the rule of law and justice system, as it sends a message that criminal acts can be rewarded with concessions. Lastly, it could set a dangerous precedent, encouraging other criminal groups to engage in similar activities in the hope of securing concessions from the government.

In the case of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s call for dialogue, it is important to note that while his intentions may be noble, his approach could be counterproductive. Pressuring the government to negotiate with terrorists and bandits sends the wrong message and undermines efforts to strengthen security measures. Instead of advocating for dialogue, Sheikh Gumi should be supporting efforts to tighten security and address the root causes of terrorism and banditry.

It is crucial for the government to prioritize the safety and security of its citizens. While dialogue can be a valuable tool in conflict resolution, it should not be used as a means to appease criminals. The government must find a way to tighten security measures, enhance intelligence gathering, and improve law enforcement capabilities to prevent hostage situations and protect the lives and properties of its citizens.

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