Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari has said that it is a matter of “semantics” calling bandits “terrorists”.
According to him, bandits shouldn’t be equated to Boko Haram insurgents because they don’t have an ideology, “they are just interested in criminality”.
Adesina said this in a recent interview with Vanguard.
POLITICS NIGERIA recalls that not too long ago, the Senate passed a resolution asking President Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and 24 hours later, the House of Representatives joined in that call. The presidency hasn’t done anything about, despite clamours by Nigerians. Adesina shares his view.
“For me personally, mark my words, personally, it is a matter of semantics. Semantics is a theory of meaning in language. So, whether they are called terrorists or they’re called bandits, it is just semantics. A criminal is criminal. They either repent, change their ways or you eliminate them. That’s what matters,” the presidential aide said.
“Who are terrorist? Terrorists more often than not levy war against a nation and they seek to seize territories and occupy them. That is a terrorist and that is why Boko Haram are terrorists, because at the time before this administration came, they were occupying a minimum of 17 local governments in this country and they wanted more. They wanted to take over the entire country and create a caliphate. They are terrorists.
“These ones, bandits, they have no ideology. No ideology. They are just interested in criminality for the sake of criminality. Robbing, raping, maiming, stealing, no ideology. Have you heard that they seized territory? They are not interested.
“So, but like I said, criminality is criminality. Eliminate all of them and that is what our security forces are doing,” Adesina said.
According to an American Security Project Report (2021), 200,000 people have fled their communities in Northern Nigeria this year due to banditry, with 77,000 of them crossing the border in search of safer abodes outside the country.