Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said attacks by bandits have lessened since he and others started engagements with the criminals.
He stated this on Wednesday evening while featuring on Arise TV’s ‘News Night’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
Sheikh Gumi said, “Attacks have lessened, it is just one case we have of the Kagara boys. We have seen an absolute change in Zamfara and Sokoto States where negotiations are going on.
“So, you don’t take sporadic cases and explode it. Even the Maiduguri incident, I don’t think it is a big threat because the military has surrounded the town. There is no continuous bombardment, just sporadic attacks. Negotiations are very useful to get sense into the heads of these boys.”
The cleric also said the task of combating the security challenges confronting the nation required the involvement of every Nigerian,
He said, “There should be a combination of both kinetic and non-kinetic methods of dealing with insecurity. What we witnessed in Maiduguri, you will know that the attackers were right inside the town meaning that they have some protection from the local population.
“The whole society should be responsible; it is not just the work of the government or the military, the society should provide the intelligence needed and the elderly and the clergy in the society should come together to speak to every single youth so that we get this thing under control.”
Of late, Sheikh Gumi had been seen in photos holding talks with notorious bandits in the forests of Zamfara, Niger, and other states. He had also advocated blanket amnesty for the bandits like was done for the militants in the Niger Delta region.
It was reported that Sheikh Gumi said bandits had only killed a “few” people accidentally, adding that they killed in “revenge”.
Sheikh Gumi’s latest comment attracted outrage on social media with many users describing him as the spokesperson for bandits in the country. The involvement of Sheikh Gumi with the bandits had also made a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, to ask the Department of State Services to summon the cleric and question him for incitement.