Bandits, like civil war instigators, deserve to be pardoned, says Gumi
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ABUBAKAR Gumi, an Islamic scholar, says the federal government should pardon bandits terrorising the northern part of the country because instigators of civil war were pardoned in the past.
Gumi said this on Thursday in Kaduna while responding to a statement credited to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that bandits should not be forgiven.
The Islamic scholar, who is also a self-acclaimed negotiator between the government and bandits, reiterated his stand that government should grant amnesty to them.
“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.
“These people in the bush, who have taken arms, they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed, even those that instigated civil war, civil war that millions of people died from, I see no reason why we cannot accept their repentance,” Gumi said.
He disclosed that the bandits told him that they were ready to drop their arms if there was an assurance that legal actions would not be taken against them by the government.
Gumi said he found, during his visit to Niger State, that the bandits were victims of profiling, who had been arrested and punished for looking like herdsmen.
Against Gumi’s ‘recommendation,’ President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration would continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals constituting threats to innocent citizens across the country.
Buhari, who was represented by Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff, said this last Thursday, during a joint security meeting of Northern State Governors’ Forum and traditional rulers.
“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new service chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals,” he said.
Criminals in the northern part of the country have been responsible for abducting and kidnapping about 400 schoolchildren in Niger and Zamfara states in 2021.
Apart from the abductions, they have also been responsible for various violent activities that have unsettled many communities in the northern part of the country.