By our reporter| Renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Monday said the Nigerian military forces were aware of the whereabouts of bandits who have been involved in high-scale kidnappings in Kankara and Kagara as well as serial killings in different parts of the country.
According to him, the military forces were re-evaluating their strategies having realised that neutralising the bandits through superior fire power had created more monsters.
The cleric, engaged in shuttle diplomacy with that bandits in recent weeks, also warned that if care is not taken, notorious terror group, Boko Haram, may infiltrate bandits in the country.
He said, “I can say categorically that they (bandits) are not Boko Haram but we have to be very careful because if the pressure is too much, Boko Haram being more international, more connected, may be richer, I am afraid they (bandits) can be influenced by Boko Haram. And we have seen the signs that Boko Haram wants to infiltrate them but so far, they are not Boko Haram, they are ready to lay down their arms.
“There was an incident that happened in Zamfara during the former regime. The Fulani themselves caught some elements of Boko Haram and presented them to the government. So, they are not Boko Haram, they are citizens, they recognise authority, and they are ready to lay down their arms, and that is why we have to act fast,” Sheikh Gumi said on Monday.
“They (military forces) know, they see them by aerial view, they have intelligence among them. I’ve met a herdsman who is part of the internal security. They all know but the problem is that the 8th military has learnt its lessons. The first approach they had when they go in and start killing, they realised it’s the wrong way and they realised they are producing monsters. So, they are now very careful, watching and seeing how they will go about it.”
The cleric urged the military not to “just wait and watch” but to “go in and negotiate” with the bandits.
The cleric who said that state government said state governments assisted him and his team with logistics support in their journey to the forest to meet with the bandits,
insisted that peaceful negotiation was the only way to end the menace of banditry.
The cleric who spoke while featuring in Channels Television programme, ‘Politics Today’, called on Christian and Muslim leaders to join him in brokering peace with the bandits.