Why I stopped negotiating with bandits- Gumi

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A Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said he stopped negotiating with the bandits terrorising the state because the state government was not interested in such a move.

Recall that in 2020 alone, bandits had killed no fewer than 937 people and kidnapped about 1,972 victims.

Speaking with SaharaReporters on Thursday, Mr Gumi’s media aide, Salisu Hassan, said the cleric halted his plans to respect the decision of the state government.

Mr Hassan said: “No, it is not that Sheikh is busy. The problem is that the government is not interested in reconciling with those people.

“So, Sheikh just tried to have some other way so that he can achieve his goals. The Kaduna State government said they are not interested in negotiations.”

Recall that Mr Gumi had crisscrossed many forests in the Northwest to meet bandit groups to preach for them, a move Governor Nasir El-Rufai frowned at.

The governor had also declared that the state government would not engage the criminals in any form of negotiations, insisting that these bandits deserve to be killed, not offered an olive branch.

Speaking during the presentation of the state’s 2020 Annual Security Report in Kaduna, Mr El-Rufai said not only negotiation, the state government would also not grant any amnesty to the criminals terrorising his state.

Mr El-Rufai stressed that bandits, cattle rustlers and armed militias must be degraded and decimated “to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority”.

According to him, these criminals must be wiped out immediately and without hesitation.

He said: “Our position in Kaduna State has been clear, unequivocal and consistent. Bandits, cattle rustlers and armed militias must be degraded and decimated to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority.

“We will neither negotiate with criminals of any description nor support any grant of amnesty.

“Criminal gangs, bandits, insurgents and ethno-religious militias made a conscious choice to challenge Nigeria’s sovereignty and menace our citizens. These criminals must be wiped out immediately and without hesitation.”