The prominent Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, who spearheaded the negotiations with bandits wreaking havoc across some northern parts of Nigeria has said the bandits he negotiated with have repented and stopped their kidnapping activities.
Gumi, who had consistently canvassed amnesty for the bandits after he met with those who kidnapped the students of Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State, early this year, also led a delegation to visit bandits in their forest bases in Kaduna and Zamfara States for what he called peace talks.
The cleric had faced criticism from Nigerians for canvassing amnesty for the bandits who have ruthlessly killed and maimed innocent citizens; however, in a recent interview with Roots TV monitored by Ripples Nigeria, Gumi maintained his stand, reiterating his call for amnesty for the insurgents.
During the interview, Gumi claimed that all the bandits that were met by delegates had stopped their involvement in kidnapping, while the ones who still engaged in the kidnapping were rogues, who the delegates didn’t meet with, but he failed to provide evidence for his claim.
Gumi decried the refusal of the government to support his mission, noting that the process of “sitting down with” other bandits was stalled by “authorities” who do not want it.
When asked about the perceived injustice on victims of bandits attack going by the demand for amnesty, Gumi said he had been a victim of banditry, noting that his brother was kidnapped and paid a ransom of almost N5 million for his release.
“My very close relative, one of the lifetime driver of my father, his son, a soldier, eleven of them were ambushed and killed.
“So, I am a victim of banditry. Then, should I seek revenge and more and more soldiers will die or do I forgive so that most souls will be saved?” So, I think it is logical. It is better to stop the more killings and have peace,” he added.