Sheikh Ahmad Gumi with bandits
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, the popular Nigerian Islamic cleric, has alleged that security operatives are working with bandits who are wreaking havoc across the country.
Speaking on Arise TV on Wednesday, Gumi accused some security personnel of giving armed gangs a soft landing.
He also urged farmers across the country to allow Fulani herdsmen to protect their forests.
The Islamic scholar, while admitting that bandits are committing all sorts of crimes, also said atrocities had been committed against them by various tribes across Nigeria.
Insisting on his call for amnesty for the bandits, Gumi said they are ready to surrender if the government will provide them with a means of livelihood.
He said, “The Niger Delta example, I think we can take an example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, they were given the pipelines to guard.
"Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby they are preventing farmers from farming. As the Niger Delta is important to the economy, these herdsmen now are becoming important to the Nigerian economy.
“They can be our guards, they can guard the forests. They have qualities that we can tap from,” Gumi said.
He dismissed the amnesty granted to bandits by Katsina State Governor Bello Masari, describing it as “political amnesty” without any package.
“When you grant a political amnesty, I mean amnesty in the front of the press and the media but in the real sense, there was no amnesty.
“Amnesty comes with a package. The package is you rehabilitate these criminals, you provide for them social amenities.
“You entice them to leave the forests by providing them with skills. But there is no project put forward.”