Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, a prominent Islamic cleric, has renewed his calls for bandits to be granted amnesty.
Sheikh Gumi believes that if coup plotters and those who instigated the civil war can be forgiven, then bandits should be forgiven as well.
“I don’t see why we can’t accept their (bandits’) repentance and grant amnesty to them. You may wonder why we grant them amnesty, but they specifically stated that they are willing to lay down their arms and do not want to face legal action after repenting.
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“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences under military rule, bandits can also enjoy similar forgiveness under democratic rule, if not better.
“These people who have taken up arms in the bush are criminals. I’m curious as to who isn’t a criminal. Nigeria forgave those who killed coup plotters because it had forgiven those who plotted the coup. I see no reason why we can’t accept the repentance of those who started civil wars in which millions of people died.
“Because that is the bottleneck, and the federal government is the only one who can give them that leverage. And, strangely enough, we discovered that they, too, are victims. They had been singled out for profiling. So many of them were apprehended and imprisoned simply because they resembled herders.”
Sheikh Gumi said he was misunderstood and the actual message was manipulated after the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called for his arrest over a viral video in which he was heard accusing Christian soldiers of instigating the crisis in the north.
“Nigerians should embrace and live in peace with one another. We should refrain from attempting anything that will cause chaos. I’ll also urge the media to refrain from sensational reporting because this country is already on fire.
“Be very cautious about what you report. What you see is exactly that. Continue to report responsibly, and don’t agitate your Christian brethren, who are known to be law-abiding and peaceful. We’ve been together for a long time and no one can break us apart; we should learn to live in peace together.”
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