To stop the spate of the mass abduction of school children, the controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has urged the Federal Government to support splinter groups among bandits.
Gumi stated this while reacting to the kidnap of about 139 students of an Islamic school in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
Punch reports Gumi as saying many bandits were ready for dialogue, suggesting that government could use them to fight the “ugly ones.”
“We are always trying to do our best, but you see, you need two hands to shake. You know these people (bandits) need engagements from the government itself. If you dialogue with them without the involvement of the government, it is a problem.
“Government needs to be proactive with them. We have a lot of them that are ready to fight the bad ones. Use the bad to fight the ugly, and use the good to fight the bad ones when you’re done with the ugly. Look at Boko Haram, who finished Shekau? Was it not the splinter group? So, it is easy.
“All these agitations you see, if the government can do a splinter group and the splinter group is empowered, every man wants power and money, they will do your job. There are many ready to submit themselves. All the ones you see me meeting in the bush, they are all telling us, ‘we are ready,” Gumi was quoted to have said.
The cleric is known for advocating blank amnesty for bandits and has severally said that not all bandits are bad.
Ripples Nigeria had reported how armed bandits on Sunday abducted many pupils of the Islamic school in Tegina, a densely populated town in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State.
The bandits reportedly seized the police station in the town and went round the town shooting sporadically into the air to scare residents, and then broke into a private school where they abducted children attending Islamic lectures.
The mass abduction of the pupils was the second to be perpetrated in Rafi Local Government Area in six months.
Recently, dozens of students were kidnapped at Government Science College (GSC) Kagara but were later released after a negotiation with the state government, brokered by Gumi.
By Victor Uzoho
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