Western Delta University, Oghara, Nigeria recently held a webinar on the afore mentioned theme. In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Augustine Ikelegbe hinted that the event will address what banditry is, its modes of operation, how it can be tackled, non-kinetic methods used for taming the situation and whether the present security architecture can successfully conduct non- kinetic measures.
The host of the event, Professor Nathaniel Umukoro thereafter called on the discussants one at a time. While presenting his opening remarks, Dr. Nathaniel Danjibo, Head of Peace and Conflict Studies Unit, University of Ibadan who also doubles as President, Society for Peace Studies and Practice, Nigeria opined that banditry can be traced to reasons ranging from agitation for Government presence with regards to economic development to criminality perpetuated by individuals for no just cause. Nigeria has used the kinetic approach for decades with little or no positive result. He recommended that for banditry that is occasioned by justifiable reasons, Government can engage the bandits with non- kinetic approach, but effect the kinetic option for activities of bandits that have criminal undertones.
On his part, Dr. Olukayode Faleye, Head, Department of History and International Studies, Edo University, Uzairue chronicled the history of banditry, affirming that conflicts which could not be resolved by colonial government were successfully defused by locals. He therefore suggested that restructuring and devolution of powers down to the local government level is the way out of the problem.
Professor Umukoro mentioned that banditry could be caused by grievances, greed as well as deprivations and asked Dr. Danjibo to speak on it. The discussant, Dr. Danjibo assessed the issue from a geographic perspective, noting that in Northern Nigeria for instance, you can travel over a long distance without seeing the presence of security operatives, thus making the area prone to the activities of bandits. Another factor contributing to the menace, he said is that some individuals see banditry as a business. They pay Fulanis to kidnap people for them and demand ransom. He recommended that an in-depth study should be carried out to ascertain the root causes of the problem so that solution can be arrived at.
There was question and answer session which was followed by the Vice-Chancellor’s closing remarks. In his closing comments, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Augustine Ikelegbe urged participants to dig deeper into the subject matter by way of a comprehensive research with a view to unraveling the causes of banditry, the non-kinetic approaches available to arrest the situation, the challenges inherent in such approaches and a lasting solution to the ugly trend. Researchers, Lecturers, and several members of the public attended the event.