Armed bandits wreaking havoc across North-West Nigeria, according to information minister Lai Mohammed, are just normal criminals who believe in Nigeria’s unity and sovereignty.

Bandits, according to Mr Mohammed, should not be likened to Boko Haram militants or IPOB separatists since they are not motivated by a religious or ideological aim.

“The difference between IPOB and Boko Haram on the one hand, and bandits on the other hand, is that while IPOB and Boko Haram are driven by ideology, a notion that they do not want to be part of Nigeria, robbers have no flags,” Mr Mohammed stated on TVC’s ‘This Morning.’

“Bandits don’t have a flag.” Bandits are straightforward criminals. The only distinction between bandits and other criminals is their aggressiveness, according to the minister. “Bandits have never claimed to be anti-Nigerians; they are simply criminals.”

Mr Mohammed stated that the administration will make every effort to eliminate criminals in order to promote peace and stability in the region.
Mr Mohammed’s remarks come amid mounting pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to take action against kidnapping gangs and terrorist organizations. The minister’s stance revealed that the administration isn’t convinced that the bandits deserve to be labeled terrorists.

In recent years, bandits, a loose network of outlaws whose operations centered mostly on kidnappings for ransom in Nigeria’s northwestern region, have posed a major national security danger.