CONTROVERSIAL Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi has said Nigerians would live in peace if education and other basic amenities were provided for herdsmen by various levels of government in the country.
The cleric said this on Monday during the commissioning of a school he built for herdsmen in Kagarko Grazing Reserve near Kohoto Village in Kaduna State.
He noted that some of the criminal gangs among the herders known as bandits were ready to embrace peace if their children could be catered for by the government.
The cleric suggested that billions of naira being spent by the Nigerian government to fight the bandits should be used in promoting the welfare of herdsmen across the country.
He said, “If the centre which is designed to educate the herdsmen is replicated everywhere in the country, Nigerians will live in peace.
“Instead of spending billions on military hardware to fight the bandits, Nigeria should spend such money on schools and teachers.
“I have spoken with the bandits and they have expressed willingness to drop their arms and embrace peace if their children can be given education and other social amenities.
“If they are educated, they will not be doing what they are doing.”
Gumi denied reports that he said Nigeria would cease to exist if bandits were declared as terrorists.
He said he was quoted out of context
“It is a quotation out of context. I didn’t say there will be no Nigeria. I said if banditry now has turned into terrorism, fanatical religious terrorism which is there because Islam recognises religious terrorism, if we allow the herdsmen to turn into religious fanatics and extremists it will not be good for us as a nation.”