The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, was a member of the federal government delegation to the United Kingdom that met with legal experts and visited some international media outlets in London over the $9.6bn case with Process and Industrial Development (P&ID). On the sidelines of their meetings at the Nigeria High Commission, he spoke with Daily Trust on security and peace initiatives in some parts of the country, the proscription of IMN and the P&ID case, among other things. Excerpts:
Daily Trust: What are the efforts on the peace initiatives by some state governors with bandits?
IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu: Generally, the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and Kogi are the most affected. The police and other security agencies put up a lot of strategies dealing with these issues and we succeeded to a very great extent. But you know policing and fighting crimes are not always left to law enforcement agencies alone. Members of the community and the general public as a whole should play their parts. In bringing this strategy into play, I as the Inspector General of Police decided to organise some security summits in the North-west of the country. I called the governors of all the states in the Northwest with their traditional rulers. We met in Katsina, we discussed other strategies apart from law enforcement.
DT: What other strategies could be adopted to bring this banditry to an end?
IGP Adamu: We came up with a lot of solutions and the governors bought into it. One of those strategies was to tell the bandits that if they were ready to repent and join the society and give up their arms, the state governments were ready to create something for them so that when they give up their arms and join the society, they would have something to do. And that had sped up, you saw what happened in Zamfara. A lot of people that were kidnapped by the bandits were released
Unconditionally, they didn’t receive a dime. The same thing is happening in Katsina now. The initiative is more advanced in Zamfara because we started it from there. And now we’re at the level of disarmament. A lot of the bandits have returned their arms, we are collecting more and more of their arms. As we can see, because of the initiative the insecurity situation in that part of Nigeria has gone down, there is stability now. This is the initiative that we are extending to cover the whole country. I was in the South-western part of the country. I organised a security summit there. All the governors were there with the traditional rulers, and we also brainstormed and agreed on some lines of actions to take. Right now if you go to the South-west, it’s also calm. So we are expanding it.
DT: Is this the new security strategy and what happens if the bandits renege on their part of the bargain?
IGP Adamu: Well, currently, it’s not every one of them that accepted the initiative. Those that have not accepted the initiative, we are fighting them in the bush, and there are some of them that have not accepted the initiative and have moved out of states like Zamfara and Katsina to states like Niger and Kajuru area in Kaduna State. But last week, we went into their camps and destroyed some of the camps, and in the exchange of fire, a lot of them lost their lives. Though we had casualties on our side, it was nothing compared with what the bandits suffered. So those that don’t accept, we do our duty.
DT: So, you use both the carrot and the stick?
IGP Adamu: Yes, they either take the peace initiative or they are beaten. If all states embrace this peace initiative, criminals will have nowhere to hide. They will never have any place to hide. And mark you, these bandits, if you give them alternative ways of life, they would never want to remain in the bush. They’re ready to come out of the bush, but they have to get something to do. So that is why the governors, especially in the Northwest are doing something like the Ruga initiative.
DT: What do you say about the Shiites?
IGP Adamu: They are proscribed, they are a terrorist organisation.
DT: But they still come out on the streets
IGP Adamu: If they come out, they come out as terrorists and we treat them as terrorists.
DT: Do you think that strategy will work?
IGP Adamu: Yes.
DT: Why don’t you extend to them the olive branch peace initiative?
IGP Adamu: No, it’s not every Shiite that is targeted. There is an organisation called the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). That’s the organisation that has been proscribed. So, if you’re a member, you’re a terrorist, you either denounce being a member of the organisation, behave well and recognise the government, because they don’t recognise our constitution, they don’t recognise constituted authority, in as much as you don’t recognise our government and you don’t recognise our constitution and you are a member of that movement, you’re a terrorist. And if you come out to protest or to disrupt the peace of everybody, we treat you as a terrorist.
DT: But if they come out as Shiites, not as IMN members, what happens?
IGP Adamu: If they come out as Shiites, they’re free, but not as IMN members. You know in the country, we have Shiites who are not members of the IMN. If you remember, during the Ashura period, we made a pronouncement that Shiites were allowed to come out to participate and mark the event, but not as members of the IMN, and that’s very clear enough.
DT: What about the P&ID contract?
IGP Adamu: We investigated the P&ID contract along with the EFCC and we’ve been able to prove that the whole transaction was a sham and while in the UK we got some witnesses willing to talk to support our case that the whole project, the whole agreement was a sham. People are now aware that there are issues behind the transactions. What was presented before was just a breach of the agreement and how it came about, they didn’t know whether there was any transaction in the first place. They didn’t know, but from our explanation, ab initio, there was no transaction. It was just a scam to take money from the federal government of Nigeria.