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Bandits hold guns for self-defence, says Gumi

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IN yet another defence of bandits, controversial Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi says  guns are held by the criminals for self-protection.

According to theCable, Gumi stated this at a virtual meeting hosted by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies on Wednesday.

He said the dreaded criminal elements would not give up their guns if they were not assured of their safety and rehabilitation.

The cleric, who has been an advocate of dialogue and amnesty for the criminals, noted that another reason they took  to arms was because there was no one to listen to and entertain their grievances.

“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 neighboring 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 the society. So in such a case, I see no reason why we should not have a dialogue with them.”

He reiterated his call that the criminals should be given amnesty just like the Niger Delta militants.

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“Looking at their educational status, they do not have any official or unofficial education. How can a nation which is serious about security leave a chunk of its society so uneducated, leave it to arms and drugs? I do not think that society is serious. How can we disperse them, rehabilitate them because they are holding arms to protect themselves?

“If you do not show them they are safe in the larger society, there is no way they can leave their weapons. And that is why we asked for amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta.

“I am not justifying their kidnapping, what they do is crime. But their kidnapping is to get more money to buy more weapons so that they can protect themselves.”

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