President Muhammadu Buhari has downplayed the possibility of his government granting amnesty to criminals and bandits.

Buhari spoke on Thursday while declaring open a joint security meeting of the Northern State Governors’ Forum, Northern Traditional Rulers Council and delegation from the Federal Government.

The President who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, warned that his government would deal decisively with all forms of criminality in the country.

Buhari said he has directed the security chiefs to evolve strategy on how to deal with all forms of criminalities.

He said: “I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence needs to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached.

“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.

“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.”

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmad Wase, on behalf of northern National Assembly lawmakers, said the lawmakers would collaborate with governors to solve problems bedevilling the region and by extension the country.

In his opening remarks, the Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, said the North had a long way to go in terms of “education, healthcare delivery, infrastructural development, food security, industrialisation and human capital development among others.”

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El – Rufai while addressing the gathering, stressed the need for peace for the development of the region and the country.

El – Rufai said, “We need enduring peace and security to ensure that our people can prosper and that our states can develop.

“Amidst the fears and despairs of the moment, we have a chance to offer hope and buoy up the spirit of our people.

“Our people are looking up to us for solutions. We need peace and security in the north and Nigeria.

“We must discharge our duty as leaders to them by collaborating across all divides to solve the challenges that confront our region and Nigeria.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar lll, who led traditional rulers from all parts of the north to the meeting urged northerners to be patient with the governors.

The Sultan noted that the governors were trying to rebuild what had been destroyed in the north over a decade ago.

He also said the traditional council in the region would continue to defend the action of the governors.

Abubakar decried the almajiri menace in the North which he claimed was poverty poverty-driven.

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