Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has declared his intention to negotiate with bandits to ascertain their grievances and the solutions to the current security challenges in the state.
Umahi disclosed this at the presentation of 40 Toyota Sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans to security agencies for enhanced operations in the state.
Attacks by gunmen on Ebonyi communities have heightened tension between herders in the state and their host communities.
Gunmen have also attacked several security facilities in the state.
At the ceremony, the governor declared his intention to negotiate with the bandits to ascertain their grievances and the way forward.
He also directed local government chairmen and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to identify the gunmen and present them for debriefing.
“I want to talk to the bandits and empower them as we cannot continue to kill ourselves and destroy public infrastructure,” he said.
“The bandits are our children, and I am pained when they or the security agencies are killed.
“I want to ascertain their grievances against the Ebonyi or federal government, collate the facts for discussions to commence.”
The governor expressed disappointment over the announcement of guidelines for the 2023 elections, noting that the nation was at a crossroad for such engagement.
“Let us forget about the 2023 elections with the leaders taking responsibility for the situation and discussing a way forward.
“No one takes money to the grave and when we hear a gunshot, we will run and abandon the money we acquired.”