Yusuf said he has learned from several meetings with the bandits that they are willing to listen to religious leaders. Speaking during an interview on Arise TV on Tuesday, he said the bandits “are tired”. “This is what we find out, in all the five states we went in, they listen to clerics. In Niger state, they gathered in force to a meeting of war commanders, from six states, in the forest,” he said.
“Nobody has drawn that kind of crowd, they listen to the Sheikhs. They are tired and want genuine peace. We go there through clerics. They listen to clerics; All clerics of all faiths.”
Yusuf added that although there’s a role for the military in the fight against banditry, it won’t make the problem go away.
He added that banditry is a social issue and should be treated as such.
“There’s a role for the military in all of these. Without the military, the north-west would have been overrun by Boko Haram, the north-central will be overrun by these bandits, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will overrun the south-east, there will be warlords all-over south-west,” he said.
“There’s a role for the military but if anybody tells you there’s a military solution to this conflict, he’s either dishonest or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There’s no military solution to this problem. “Banditry is a social problem and not a military one. We are increasingly militarising what is essentially a social problem. We are dropping a million-dollar bomb on people we should be providing water for.”