Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state, has called on Local Government chairmen and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to identify the bandits in the state and present them for debriefing.
Umahi gave the directive on Friday in Abakaliki at the presentation of 40 Toyota Sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans to security agencies for enhanced operations in the state.
The governor declared that he wants to negotiate with the bandits to ascertain their grievances and the way forward.
Umahi 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 the Ebonyi or federal government, collate the facts for discussions to commence,” he said.
“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 are judiciously utilised”.
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.
Also speaking at the presentation, Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, remarked that the presentation was the first batch of the 100 sienna vehicles and 40 utility vehicles to be procured for security agencies.
“The governor has fully paid for the 40 sienna vehicles and 20 Hilux vans being presented as the recipients are charged to judiciously utilise the vehicles.
“I want to thank the governor for this feat despite the prevailing economic challenges as he had earlier distributed 70 utility vehicles to security agencies in 2019,” he said.