A former assistant director in the Department of State Services (DSS), Dennis Amachree, says some bandits are former members of the Boko Haram insurgent group.
Speaking when he featured on an Arise TV programme on Saturday, Amachree said he learnt this from the confession of some bandits.
He added that unlike the Niger Delta militants protesting pollution of their areas, bandits do not deserve amnesty as they are “faceless criminals”.
“From investigations, we have even discovered that some of them were Boko Haram fighters,” he said.
“Some of them have confessed to having fought with Boko Haram. And now, you have these people infiltrating, collecting money for ransoms, raping women and sending them back to Boko Haram.
“Anybody who is comparing them to militants in the Niger Delta, I want to ask the person to tell me what their objectives are. You cannot as a country be dealing with faceless criminals, who are harassing your populace, and let them go free.
“What happened in the Niger Delta is totally different from what we are experiencing now. In the Niger Delta, people were protesting for the pollution of their environment. And because of that, they said ‘if you are taking the oil and we are not going to benefit from it’, then they started blowing up oil installations.”
Amachree added that while leaders of militants are known, some of the bandits are foreigners who want to live on their own terms in Nigeria.
“For these bandits, we are talking of criminals, some of whom we have discovered are not from Nigeria. So, they are coming into this country, occupying our ungoverned spaces and trying to live there under their own conditions. So, these bandits are thieves,” he added.