The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), says those accusing him of sparing bandits and terrorists in Nigeria are being unfair.
According to the President, he is also treating bandits and insurgents in the language they understand.
He was reacting to an accusation of “double standards” alleging that he pampers bandits in the north while sounding tough against insurrectionists in the South-East.
Buhari spoke on Friday evening during an interview aired on NTA.
Buhari had courted controversy recently when he said those supporting insurrection and violence in the country would be shocked.
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The President had condemned the attacks on police stations, prisons and offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, especially in the South-East, warning that, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Buhari’s statement which was also tweeted sparked outrage on social media with some Nigerians criticising the President for allegedly being insensitive to evoke the wounds of the civil war. Twitter later pulled down the President’s tweet and the Federal Government subsequently suspended the micro-blogging platform.
When asked on Friday to explain what he meant by treating insurrectionist in the language they understand and whether he meant “fire for fire”, Buhari said, “More than that, we will arrest them, try them and give them very big publicity and then jail them so that people will know that when they misbehave they will not get away with it.”
Also confronted with the accusation that he has been lenient with bandits and terrorists in the north while he handed down the stern warning to hoodlums in the south, Buhari said his critics were being unfair to him.
He said, “They are being unfair, they should go and ask the governors of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and find out how I have been deploying the police and the military to deal with the bandits, we are not sparing anybody but Nigeria is vast and there are a lot of forests.”