By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
For the umpteenth time, renowned Muslim Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is advocating for a holistic approach to slow down the spate of insecurity in Nigeria including the option of granting amnesty to bandits.
He also said emphatically that Boko Haram elements are responsible for the abduction of the Greenfield University students in Kaduna, although he revealed that he is also trying to reach out to the abductors.
Sheikh Gumi who spoke on Tuesday on African Independent Television (AIT) breakfast programme ‘Kakaaki’ on the topic: “Amnesty and Negotiation”, said he was speaking the minds of bandits including those who abducted the students of Federal College of Forestry Afaka in Kaduna state because they have nobody to put their grievances out for them.
Said he: “I want to make it clear that these bandits said they are under pressure of the governments as they are denied all the largesse which governments from federal, states and local governments offer to other citizens. I am speaking for them because they don’t have anybody to speak for them.
The controversial Islamic Scholar insisted that the bandits are favourably disposed to accepting amnesty to stop the spate of kidnapping, killing and other criminality in the country.
Reminded that these bandits are not trustworthy as they always go back to their old ways after collecting huge ransom on the head of their victims, he said amnesty is the only solution to disarm them and government take care of them afterwards.
According to him: “we have to take this option to save lives and I believe we can turn them into “good guys” and it will be easy to use the “good guys” to suppress the bad guys”.
On why should the bandits be rehabilitated while their victims, dead and wounded, are left on their own, Gumi argued that: “bandits are not taken care of by federal, states and local governments but the citizens do.
“If you talk about the victims, where are government agencies like NEMA. They take care of the citizens but who takes care of the bandits?”, he asked.
On the threat by the abductors of Greenfield University students in Kaduna that they will kill the rest soon should the demanded ransom fail to reach them in time, Sheikh Gum said he is also making efforts to broker a truce but without much success.
Said he: “I am trying without success to persuade the abductors not kill the innocent students but I will continue to push”.
He however said no amount is too much to secure the release of the abducted students, although he regretted that the bandits and terrorists use the ransom money to buy more sophisticated weapons to fortify themselves against federal government bombardment.