Outspoken Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said that if he gets the necessary government support, he will see to the end of banditry and its associated criminality in parts of the country.
The cleric said having met one-on-one with some of the bandits, he was aware that they were ready to stop what they were doing if government was ready to negotiate.
“The last picture we saw of the last kidnapped students, those boys carrying those heavy weapons behind them, I want them to be in school.
“Because when we went to Niger state and met this same boys , I met one of them, I told one of them…look I will bring you to school, do you want to go to school, he said yes. These boys you see, they want to go to school.
“If the government will give me a free hand I can remove those weapons from them and put them in school but if I go there and say bring your weapon alone and remain in the bush, definitely he will get another weapon and kidnap another person.
“You can’t leave a human being so illiterate in this economic hard time and expect him to behave well. From where is he getting his morals?,” he asked during an interview on Arise TV’s The Morning Show, which was monitored by THE WHISTLER on Wednesday.
Gumi said government should be neutral and dialogue with the bandits, because, according to him, they have disclosed their grievances.
“The amnesty I want is not dashing money to them at all…they agree to protect the forest, no any case of kidnap will happen and that if there is a three month of peace, then the government should come in an build a hospital for them; and he said after that three months, they should come and build schools for them and that they should release all their prisoners, and they are ready to release everybody. These are the conditions…
“So, I don’t know why we cannot engage them; they are not like the others that are bent on destroying the Nigerian sovereignty. No, they are willing to sit down.
“Let’s educate all Nigerians and this kidnapping and terror will come to an end. Insha Allah,” he said.
He also appreciated former president Olusegun Obasanjo for playing a major role in resolving issues amongst the bandits and others.
“Olusegun Obasanjo is trying to go deep into the root cause of the problem and that is what I consider to be a good leader; he does not depend on what he hears in the news or what reads in papers, he gets stakeholders on the issue and dig deep and see what is the problem,” he said.