Garba Shehu, a presidential aide, has dismissed claims of preferential treatment in dealing with bandits and other threats to national stability in northern Nigeria.
When asked by BBC Pidgin on Saturday, August 28, why the Federal Government had not declared bandits and criminal herdsmen terrorists or prohibited them, Shehu responded that what the Buhari-led administration had done to bandits was worse than declaring them terrorists.
The President has an order to shoot any bandit on sight, but there is no similar order against the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Shehu
“What the Buhari administration has done to the arms-wielding bandits is worse than being declared as terrorists. “Do you know that there is a subsisting order by the President that any arms-wielding, AK-47 bandits should be shot on sight? “I am saying yes, IPOB has been proscribed by law of the land, there is no shoot-on-sight order on IPOB. There is nothing to suggest that these bandits are treated preferentially.”
In addition, the presidential aide noted that progress is being made in the fight against bandits. Additionally, he said;
“The Nigerian Air Force is busy bombing locations, the military is there on the ground, exchanging fire for fire, taking them out in hundreds, that is certainly not treating them (bandits) lightly. “It is a matter of time, they will be substantially reduced and the Nigerian state will be safe all over again. “For instance, Boko Haram are surrendering today in their thousands, this did not just happen…. “Before President Buhari [assumed office] many Nigerians could not worship on Fridays, mosques were being bombed, on Sundays churches were being bombed, motor parks and public gatherings it."