Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger, says his administration will not offer cash to repentant bandits.
Speaking when he held a meeting with a vigilante group at Mariga LGA, Bello said some persons who claimed to have repented, collect money to purchase more weapons and return to their old ways of banditry.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday by Mary Noel-Berje, chief press secretary to the governor, Bello said any bandit who gives up his old ways would be offered a means of livelihood without cash backing.
“I am here to thank the vigilantes, boost their morale and to offer more support from the state government so that they can continue to support the police and other security agencies in the fight against bandits and other criminal tendencies,” he was quoted to have said.
“Any bandit that surrenders his weapons and repents from his heinous way of living would be forgiven and provided with a means of livelihood which would not necessarily include any cash backing.
“From experience, it has been discovered that the repentant bandits, after collecting cash from the dialogue option, they will purchase more weapons and return to their old ways of banditry.”
The governor, however, said weapons would be provided to the vigilantes to enhance their onslaught against bandits.
Bello also added that vigilante groups would not be disbanded after criminal activities stop, adding that they would remain the security operatives at the community level.