After his meeting with bandits in Zamfara State, renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Gumi has urged the Federal Government to grant amnesty to repentant bandits.
He argued that not doing so could lead to serious bloodshed and merciless killings.
Sheikh Gumi, who spoke with journalists on the Government House in Gusau, the state capital, on Thursday, said if the Federal Government and state governments where the bandits at present operate from keeping engaging security agencies to tackle the bandits in shootouts, the killings and criminality will not end soon.
Citing the amnesty granted to Niger Delta militants by late President Musa Yar’Adua and the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to cushion the effect of the militancy, Sheikh Gumi stated such action would curb incidences of banditry within the Northern parts of the nation and help douse tensions within the region.
“Negotiations remain the best option for battle resolution. Negotiations settled the grievances of the militants within the South-South, so President Buhari should borrow from that ideology to end terror attacks in his own government,” Sheikh Gumi stated.
According to the Islamic cleric, “virtually all the heinous crimes in Nigeria are being perpetrated by unemployed youths who have no defined means of livelihood for a number of years and that a hungry man is an angry man.”
On his visit to the bandits of their hideouts, Sheikh Gumi said they opened up to him on their grievances with the federal government which they stated haven’t been addressed by the state government.
He added that the unrepentant bandits demanded justice in dealing with the Fulani people, saying that both the security agencies and the outlawed Yansakai members have classified the Fulani people as third-class citizens in a country that belongs to everybody.
“They lamented that mere seeing any Fulani herdsman with a car or motorcycle has become a serious crime against the security agencies and the Yansakai members as they would seize the car or motorcycle from the Fulani herdsmen, describing them as bandits or kidnappers.
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“Additionally they said that during their meetings with the state government on peace accord and reconciliation, all the promises that were made by the state government didn’t reach the Fulani herdsmen as the kind gestures were being hijacked by the middle between them and the state government.
“I will call on the Zamfara State government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure judicious distribution of any right that belongs to the Fulani people within the state as hijacking their rights will aggravate the already existing tension in the state.
“There’s nowhere that peace can reign without justice and if there is justice, the federal and state governments would not have been wasting a large amount of money to quell banditry within the state,” Sheikh Gumi stated