The revered Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, has continued to stir the hornet’s nest with his controversial statements on amnesty for bandits. Gumi, who many times without number proved to be sympathetic to bandits and championing amnesty for them, has kicked against the current military aerial bombardment aimed at bringing to an end their nefarious activities.
The bandits Gumi called for government to negotiate with or grant amnesty have failed to lay down their arms and surrender despite repeated appeals. In Katsina and Zamfara states, the governors extended an olive branch for any bandit that agrees to repent and return to normal life.
But sadly, the amnesty that Gumi advocates has failed to yield the desired results. The activities of these bandits have continued unabated with many poor farming communities abandoning their hamlets and farms in total fear. One can say, their activities are emboldening every passing day, with many lives and resources being wasted.
Did Gumi caution these bandits to stop attacking these helpless communities? In my article entitled: “Gumi and amnesty for bandits” published by many national dailies, I debunked an erroneous attempt by Gumi and his co-travellers to compare the violent activities of bandits to other elements of insecurity in the country such as: Biafran agitators and Movement for the Emacipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
I further clarified that Biafran agitators want secession and government is fully aware of it. The same with Niger Delta militants, who have been advocating for resources control in view of what they perceived as negligence of their communities by government and oil companies.
However, the question I asked was whether the blood thirsty northern bandits had any grievances or not. One needs to know why they kill and kidnap poor farming communities and forcefully enter schools and abduct harmless children on daily basis for financial gains. If there existed any grievances or injustice meted against them one would have loved the bandits should have forwarded them to government instead of being rude and violent.
Is Gumi aware that since the banditry began in Zamfara State in 2011, over 12,000 people have been killed and 250,000 cattle rustled by the bandits? Since the time he initiated his peace mission, how many bandits have so far surrendered and repented?