The Nigerian government has been urged to grant amnesty to bandits within the South and anyone carrying a gun.
The Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi said this on Sunday, consistent with Punch.
He said the amnesty he proposed for bandits within the North should be extended to the Fulani involved in kidnappings within the South.
Gumi, who stated this in an interview with one among our correspondents, also said the bandits involved in kidnappings weren’t foreigners, but Nigerians.
The prominent cleric had after a gathering with bandits in Zamfara State forests fortnight urged the govt to grant them amnesty.
He also met bandits along Kaduna-Abuja road, which had witnessed a series of kidnappings and killings.
After the kidnapping at Kagara, Niger State on Wednesday, Gumi also visited the state and held a gathering with some bandits.
Justifying he involves an extension of amnesty to the South, Gumi said everyone carrying a gun should even be included for the country to possess a clean slate.
He noted that northern governors, except Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, had accepted his reaching bent bandits within the North.
Gumi insisted that the bandits involved in kidnappings weren’t foreigners, but Nigerians.
He said, “People don’t know the Fulani in the least. they’re not after money. Even once they are burning houses in Oyo, don’t you see where they live? They stay in huts. they’re not into buying flashy cars. they only like their cattle. the cash they’re collecting from kidnappings, they’re buying weapons with them. The more you fight them, the more they fight back. They don’t surrender. they’re saying if the air force continues to pester them, they’re going to need to get anti-aircraft.
“Not all of them are criminals; the hard-line (position) taken against them turned them into the militants that they’re. They showed me a village, which doesn’t belong to the Fulani, but was bombarded by the air force. A well was crammed with dead bodies. The air force killed them because they thought it’s a Fulani enclave, if they’re Fulani, what about the wives and children? it’s the military that produced these monsters, a bit like they did with Boko Haram. we’d like dialogues with them.
“I am encouraged because I even have started seeing instant results. The bandits; nobody can call them except we use the religious card. So, these people making noises, allow them to attempt to see if they will get them to concentrate. They don’t respect any authority because they need to form an authority of their own. But if you speak to them and say, ‘This is sacrilege to the sanctity of faith, they’ll listen. So, why won’t we explore it?
“I spoke to the warlord there (Niger State) and he doesn’t know the present situation of things (about the kidnapped Kagara pupils). there’s a communication gap because the forest is vast. The terrain doesn’t leave room for expediency. But I think that ultimately, they’re going to be released today (Sunday). they might are released now, but before they get to the town, it’ll take time. once we left them (the bandits), it took us from 6 pm to three am before we reached home.”
He said just like the federal gave the people of the Niger-Delta amnesty, an equivalent gesture should be extended to those carrying guns within the country.
“It should be a blanket amnesty, not only the Fulani. Anybody that’s carrying weapons, you give him amnesty. Let’s roll in the hay for these people carrying weapons and Nigeria will open a replacement page. Don’t be surprised, these Boko Haram people, if you approach them the way you approach these people (bandits), they’re going to listen. If you talk, it’s better than all this language of might. The dialogue will offer you what violence cannot offer you.
“El-Rufai is that the just one left. there’s no other governor. But he’s a really intelligent man, and if he sees reason, he will (key into my mission). I don’t see any governor which will not key in. The more you get close, the more you see reason with these people, and to ask why are they doing it,” he added.