■ Explains his peace mission with Sheik Gumi
■ Calls for Amnesty to the armed bandits
By Jude Johnson
A former Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, has said there is no military solution to the current spate of insecurity in the North and other parts of the country.
He said security challenges such as banditry and herders crisis in the North and other parts of the country cannot be solved by military action alone.
While owning up that those behind the security challenges in the North are actually Fulanis, Yusuf called for more dialogue than Military actions in achieving peace across the states.
The Professor said this on Arise News Morning Show on Monday, where he narrated his experience with groups of Fulani herdsmen in Zamfara State alongside renowned Islamic Scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
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He said, “We have to accept and not deny that these bandits are our Fulanis, not foreign Fulanis. They are our flesh and blood. Once we accept that then we forget all these conspiracies and face realities.
“What we will also not do, we will not deny them, but we are not proud of them.”
Yusuf who accompanied Gumi to the camps of these bandits in Zamfara to negotiate for peace, said strategies adopted by the Federal Government to stop their operation far outweighed the demands of the bandits.
He added, “Anyone that tells you he does not dialogue with non-state actors is not a student of history. And for anyone to tell you, there is a military option to this, is not true.
“Now we have been there, and there is no foot of any security there. They are just throwing bombs to who, on whom? On birds? On cattle? No. You do all the killings and bombings and at the end, you come and sit on the table.
“Now is the time to have dialogues, there is no military solution to this conflict. They are small, they are mobile, they are fearless, they are in the forest.
Yusuf and Sheik Gumi recently visited the bandits in their enclaves in Zamfara State
“We need to draw them close and talk to them, and to be honest, their grievances are not much. Their grievances are not anywhere close to that of the Niger Delta people and it would cause less than a bomb to sort out the problem.
“So, listening to people in any conflict is the first thing to do, Military option is not a solution, and there is nowhere in the world that Military alone takes care of security, No.”
Describing that the bandits he saw were from the ages of between 13 and 17 years with heavy machine guns, he pleaded for dialogue rather than throwing of bombs.
He also called on the Federal Government to provide basic needs such as education, employment, school, and clinic among others.
“They were smoking marijuana when they started reciting the Quran and I could see them; they were dropping the marijuana and extinguishing it.
“So we need to reach out to their hearts and bring them close, these are kids for goodness sake, 13, 15, 17 doing all this.
“There is a window if they are willing to listen and this would not be the last time. We need to be talking to them, discussing with them, these are the issues of the place. They need borehole. They need clinics, they need school, then you get them gainfully employed.
“Then speak with vigilantes, they are killing them in town. See what’s happening in Zulu, Kantagora, anarchy, lawlessness everywhere,” he said.
The former NHIS boss further pleaded for self-responsibility, saying, “it is not the preserve of the government or the security agencies. It is ours and it affects us”.
The country has recounted huge losses in the last 43 days in 2021. Just in February alone, the country has recorded over 45 cases of killings and abduction in some parts of the country.