Islamic cleric, Sheik Abubakar Gumi, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to engage bandits meaningfully.as he spoke on efforts to rescue the kidnapped pupils of Tegina Islamic School, Niger State.
He said that it is not possible for schools to be guarded properly when the bandits are not engaged in any meaningful venture.
Continuing he said that there are about 100,000 armed bandits in the North-West and if they are engaged then the menace of school children kidnapping would have been reduced.
On his recent effort in negotiating with them to a drop their arms, Gumi said that the bandits were disappointed on it because the FGN had not shown any involvement.
He noted that the kidnapped of the Islamic student shows that it was not about religion, but as a means of survival.
He therefore called for partnership with the FGN likewise the state government saying he cannot do it alone.
Furthermore, he also advised against the use of force, saying Ariel bombardment will only worsen the situation.
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi warned that killing bandits and kidnappers will only worsen the security situation in Nigeria, adding that bandits and kidnappers are victims as well.
Gumi added that the bandits who requested 150 million naira from the 200 million naira demanded earlier from the victim's parents in Niger State.
“We have tried to explain to these bandits that the school children are innocent and there is no need to take dirty money from their parents”, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi said.
But the fact that these bandits are not targeting religion is a good prognosis. They are just cattle herders who found a new means of making money in the country, Sheikh Gumi claimed.
Most of them are not educated and 99 percent of them use their weapons to protect themselves because they are victims. If we start killing them, remember that they have our children, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi disclosed.
Gumi has been very vocal calling for a special amnesty program for the bandits, just as was done for the Niger Delta militants.