Without Amnesty, Bandits Will Continue to Hold Arms to Protect Themselves – Gumi

Nigerian Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi on Wednesday said the Fulani herdsmen involved in banditry hold weapons to protect themselves and are ready to negotiate.

This was made known in a virtual meeting hosted by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.

In his submission, Gumi said:

“Nobody can justify criminality, what we are saying is what we saw in the forest is an ethnic war going on between people in the forest and the neighbouring villages and hamlets. When the herder felt he has grievances and nobody was listening to him, he took on weapons. So when we went there and they saw a listening ear, they were ready to negotiate, tell us their grievances, and ready to incorporate into society. So in such a case, I see no reason why we should not have a dialogue with them.”

He added:

“If you don’t show them they’re safe in the larger society, there’s no way they can leave their weapon. And that’s why we asked for amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta. I’m not justifying their kidnapping, what they do is crime. But their kidnapping is to get more money to buy more weapons so they can protect themselves.”

The cleric argued that a nation serious about security shouldnt leave any society so uneducated and only had to result to kidnapping because of the circumstances the country had caused and as such they should be given amnesty.

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