- Sheik Ahmad Gumi has urged the federal government to grant amnesty for bandits to end kidnapping in the country
- The northern leader made the plea on Tuesday, February 16, while featuring on a TV programme
- Gumi also asked Nigerians to embrace peace irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds
A prominent Islamic cleric and northern leader, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has declared that bandits learnt kidnapping from the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
MEND was on the frontline of kidnappings when expatriates and oil workers were abducted during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
While kidnapping is fast becoming a thing of the past among militants, bandits have been abducting residents in different parts of the country.
Daily Trust reports that Gumi, while speaking on an Africa Independent Television (AIT) programme on Tuesday, February 16, said if the federal government could grant amnesty to militants, why can’t the same gesture be extended to bandits.
The northern leader said if the federal government grants them amnesty, bandits would expose those perpetrating criminality.
“We didn’t take a different route of trying to solve this problem and that is why we are still here today. And when we say amnesty, we don’t mean that anyone proved to be involved in murder should go free as such.
“They learnt kidnapping from MEND. I do not see any difference. They were the first victims of rustling. Their cattle is their oil. What we are seeing now is more of an insurgency than banditry. I can say 10 percent of the herders are criminals not 90 percent, in the end, they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction."
He had asked the federal government to pardon them but some northern leaders, including Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, rejected his recommendation, saying kidnappers must be punished.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that in what seems like a spirited effort to end senseless killings and kidnapping of innocent Nigerians in some parts of the country, a delegation of the federal government and the newly appointed service chiefs have met with northern governors.
It was reported that the meeting which was held in Kaduna state on Monday, February 15, had in attendance governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, and Plateau states.
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.