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Sheikh Gumi insists on ‘Niger Delta-style’ amnesty for bandits

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I have no regret over my role in Obasanjo, Atiku reconciliation —Sheikh Gumi

Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has, once again, kicked against any attempt at labelling Northern bandits as terrorists, and has instead advocated for a blanket amnesty reminiscent of the type given to Niger Delta militants to be granted to the killer bandits.

Sheikh Gumi who made the renewed amnesty call during the enrolment of a third batch of students into the free orphans’ healthcare and education support programme organised by the Kawo Islamic Foundation in Kaduna on Monday, insisted that granting amnesty to the bandits was the solution to stopping the bloodshed and their criminal activities in the northern regions.

Gumi added that labelling the bandits whom he described as “naive criminals” as terrorists, will further compound “a very simple problem.”

“If there is anything that can stop the shedding of blood, it is better just like what happened with the Niger Delta militants, they were shedding blood and vandalising pipelines, but where they were ready to drop their weapons with an amnesty that will take care of them, I think the same thing can apply to herdsmen,” Gumi said.

Read also: Again, El-Rufai rules out negotiation, amnesty for bandits, kidnappers in Kaduna

“We have met them and they are ready to put down their arms, but when they put down their arms, if you do not educate them and provide them with funds to take care of them, they will go back to the same old ways.

“Still, we call for amnesty and stopping all hostilities because we know how we can deal with it peacefully,” Sheikh Gumi added.

Kicking against the labelling of bandits as terrorists, Gumi said such a move will compound a simple problem as they are mere ignorant criminals who needs reorientation.

“Labelling them as terrorists will compound a very simple problem; they are simply naïve criminals and when you label them as terrorists like Boko Haram and ISWAP, they may join forces with them which will give an impetus to real terrorism.

“To deal with naïve and uneducated criminals, it will be detrimental to us to label them terrorists; we should fight them when fighting is useful, but dialogue is the ultimate solution.”

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