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Nigerian Government Should Treat Bandits Like Niger Delta Militants, Grant Them Amnesty – Sheikh Gumi .

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Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said that the Niger-Delta region is relatively peaceful after the Nigerian government granted amnesty to militants and appointed their leaders, adding that the same method must be applied to bandits currently ravaging the country.

Gumi noted that the Nigerian military has been hard on bandits with the approach it uses to win the war against banditry in the northern part of the country.

Speaking on Daily Trust’s X Space conversation titled, “When will there be an end to Nigeria’s recurring abductions?”, he noted that both the Army and Air Force troops launched ground and air strikes that killed the bandits’ families – wives and children – which have angered them, as they see it as a war.

He said, “To them (military) they are fighting a war. Honestly, the military has been very hard on them, the Air Force is killing their families,” Gumi said.

Insisting on socio-economic methods, the scholar said, “When you think of synergy, you can’t rule out the military, but there has to be synergy. Let the non-kinetic approach be in the front. When it fails, then the kinetic can come in.

“And in fact, it will come in a better position because the non-kinetic approach will give access to have a better intelligence, better knowledge and with that kind of intensive engagement in negotiation.”

Gumi, who has visited bandits in the forests a number of times, to negotiate the release of victims, gave a similar occurrence of how former President Musa Yar’Adua gave amnesty to the oil-rich Niger-Delta militants which stopped the kidnapping of expatriates.

The scholar said as militants destroyed oil pipelines then, the bandits are also doing the same preventing farmers from working on the farm causing food insecurity, as well as abducting innocent children and women for ransom.

“The change that I would recommend is that there should be a strong committee about it. The same way there was a similar thing happening in the Niger-Delta, whereby militants that were attacking foreigners and our military, and killing policemen, all these happened no more when the (former) president decided to give them amnesty… and it worked,” Gumi said.

“Niger-Delta is relatively peaceful (today). And these warlords are now the ones guarding our pipelines, and they are living their lives normally. A similar version, we can do with these bandits.

“The common factor is that the Niger-Delta militants were vandalising our petroleum which is a good source of national income but also the herdsmen militants are stopping people from farming. Farming is also a very important source of our GDP. And I see that comparisons the way we deal with the Niger Deltans to also deal with these people the same way.”

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