The commanders of the various bandits groups operating across Niger State have held a meeting to deliberate on how to dialogue with the state government.
The Nation learnt that the meeting was held in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State penultimate Friday.
The meeting, it was learnt, was called by one of the kingpin commanders and was attended by bandits in the state.
However, the state government was not represented in the meeting.
It will be recalled that the state government had said it would meet with herdsmen and bandits to deliberate on how to have lasting peace in the state.
The Secretary to the Niger State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matene, confirmed that the meeting held but without any representative of the state government, adding that the reason why the government was not represented was that they realised that the meeting was purely for the bandits in other locations.
He said: “One of the kingpin commanders called for a meeting to know how they would stretch the hands of dialogue to the state government so that there would be peace in the state.
“It was their meeting and they held it and talked about how we can have peace in the state and how the banditry activities in the state will end.
“When they are through with that, we will interface with them again to see some resolutions that government can also leverage.”
Matane further said that the state government was still stretching its hands of peace to any of the bandits interested in dropping their arms and embracing a legitimate lifestyle. He added that this does not mean the government will abandon the carrot and stick approach.
‘The stick is still there as security agents are doing what they are supposed to do,” he said.