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NIGER: My administration has not ruled out dialogue – Gov Bago

THE governor of Niger State, Umar Bago, stated that his administration has not ruled out the prospect of engaging in talks with the bandits and terrorists who have occupied the state’s extensive woodlands and ungoverned territories and invaded the state.

Bago said his administration has put in place a non-kinetic system to engage the bandits to complement efforts by the military in combating the threat of the criminal elements. He made the suggestion following a meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.

After the discussion, Bago told State House reporters that, if his non-kinetic strategy fails, he will launch a military operation to expel the bandits from the state and defeat them.

“We are looking at two options: first, non-kinetic; as a government, we have put in machinery to start talking to the bandits,” he said.

The governor added that other measures he had taken included the creation of a ministry that will address the issues bordering on Fulani herdsmen and pastoralists.

“We have also created a Ministry for Nomadic and Pastoral Affairs to look at the issues of Fulani herdsmen.

“You also need to understand that Niger State has the largest congregation of Fulani. Niger State is 8.3 million hectares of land with bodies of water, and the environment is very good for grazing.

“A lot of Fulani across the world, not just Africa, converge in Niger State, so we don’t want them to leave, We don’t want any major military activities, We want to talk to them.

“But if we don’t get to that level of dialogue, then probably, we have to go fully military,” he said.

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