Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has declared his intention to negotiate with bandits to ascertain their grievances and the way forward.
Umahi made this known on Friday at the presentation of 40 Toyota Sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans to security agencies in Abakaliki for enhanced operations in the state.
The governor who said he gets pained when bandits or security agents are killed, directed local government chairmen and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to identify the bandits and present them for debriefing.
He said; “I want to talk to the bandits and empower them as we cannot continue to kill ourselves and destroy public infrastructure.
“The bandits are our children and I am pained when they or the security agencies are killed.
“I want to ascertain their grievances against Ebonyi or the federal government, and collate the facts for discussions to commence.”
Speaking on INEC’s announcement of guidelines for the 2023 elections, he expressed disappointment, saying that the nation was at a crossroad for such engagement.
“Let us forget about the 2023 elections with the leaders taking responsibility for the situation and discussing a way forward.
“No one takes money to the grave and when we hear a gunshot, we will run and abandon the money we amassed.
“This is not a period to discuss political parties but ensure that the resources of this nation which can truly transform it is judiciously utilised,” he said.
Umahi debunked the insinuation that members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) or Eastern Security Network (ESN) were after him, insisting that he has discharged his duties to the people.