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Adebayo Shittu: Society Created Banditry In Northern Nigeria By Neglecting Education 

Former communication minister Adebayo Shittu proposes non-kinetic measures over a kinetic approach to curb banditry in Nigeria’s north.

Emphasizing the critical role of education in addressing Banditry in Nigeria, the former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu has stated that the bandits attacking different areas of the North are simply people rebelling for being left out of education.

Shittu in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, citing the wisdom of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who championed free and compulsory education in Yoruba land, highlighted the plain contrast between the Southwest and other regions suffering from rampant banditry in the country.

He attributed the absence of such unrest in the Southwest to the region’s commitment to educating its youth.

“The issue of banditry is one that the society created for this country. I want to recall that our late leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo had said decades ago, that if society refuses to educate the children of the poor, these children of the poor will ensure that their own children cannot sleep with both eyes closed. While Chief Awolowo was introducing and implementing free and compulsory education in Yoruba land, unfortunately, political leaders in other areas neglected to do this and today we are seeing the outcome of such negligence.

“I am saying this with all due respect to our brothers, particularly in the northwest and northeast also. Why is there no banditry in the southwest of Nigeria? It is simply because we appreciated the very important place that educating the children is. When you fail to educate people, over the years, they grow up to find out that there is social inequality.

“Some people are enjoying life, riding cars and living in beautiful houses but they have been left out so they start rebellion against society. So, what is happening in the northwest and the northeast to me is the rebellion against the neglect of the poor and wretched.”

He also lamented the billions of naira spent on kinetic approaches to combat banditry, emphasizing its ineffectiveness.

Proposing a shift towards a more realistic approach, Shittu advocated for alternative systems of mediation and reintegration for marginalized individuals, stating the potential for substantial reductions in banditry through such initiatives.

“We have over the years, been spending billions of naira in the Kinetic approach to it and it is simply because people who have been left out of education and civilization that westernization brings about, are simply rebelling. We have tried the kinetic approach over the years.

“In fact, in the last five years, I cannot imagine how much money has been used to buy attack aircrafts, warships and all kinds of ammunition, not to talk of the money being spent on the armed forces. I wonder if we have seen any reduction in this war that the bandits are waging in society.

“What I am simply suggesting is the realistic approach of what we have refused to do as a society over the years. Perhaps we should adopt other systems of mediation, otherwise, we may continue in this situation.

“In Nigeria, unfortunately our political leaders, particularly in the North, have not been fair enough to the children of the poor. So, if there is a way we can re-train them, even if it is just 100 thousand that gets rehabilitated and changed, that is a substantial reduction in the potentially dangerous elements in the society.”

Chioma Kalu

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