Gumi: Bandits Are Shy People, They Deserve To Be Forgiven And Compensated
A prominent Islamic cleric and friend for Northern-Nigeria Fulani Bandits, Ahmad Gumi, have explained that the bandits are very shy people that deserve to be forgiven and compensated.
Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, an influential Islamic cleric, recently ventured into forests in Zamfara State to hold a parley with the dreaded bandits who have for long created a climate of fear in the North.
In a recent interview with PUNCH, Gumi said the bandits are victims of cattle rustling and extortion, adding that they deserve to be forgiven and compensated.
He said should the federal government choose to grant them amnesty, they would surrender their arms.
“These people (bandits) know how to organise themselves and protect themselves and they have started attacking villages all around. Once you touch one of them, the whole of them will come together to attack a village. They mobilise themselves through the bush. So, it is not good to attack them, honestly speaking,” Gumi said.
“The Hausa are suffering and they have therefore stopped attacking the Fulani herdsmen. So, we should not attack them. We should just pacify them and they are a very shy people. If you meet them, they are very shy.
“When you offer them amnesty, they drop their weapons. Then you go in, build schools for them, build hospitals for them, get them censored; get them registered; then you can control (them).
“You can’t have access to them through the gun. Honestly, they know the terrain in the bush more than our military. So, it is better to negotiate with them.”
Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, had said he does not agree with Gumi on how to deal with bandits.
The governor said bandits will not be willing to give up kidnapping, considering the huge amount of money they make from ransom but Sheiki had also argued otherwise.
In addition he says, “But you know sometimes when politicians speak, you just take their word on the face value, you don’t take it seriously. You don’t take politicians too seriously because even America is negotiating everywhere. They negotiated with Saddam, they negotiated with bandits in Afghanistan; even Israel negotiates. So, negotiation is part and parcel of warfare. So, we should leave political statements out of the reality on the ground.”