Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said bandits will not give up until they feel safe.
He spoke on Wednesday during a virtual assembly hosted by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
Gumi stated: “Nobody can justify criminality, what we’re saying is what we noticed within the forest is an ethnic war going on between people in the forest and the neighbouring villages and hamlets. When the herder felt he has grievances and nobody was listening to him, he took on weapons.”
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“So when we went there and they saw a listening ear, they were prepared to negotiate, inform us their grievances, and able to incorporate into society.
“So in such a case, I see no cause why we should not have a dialogue with them.”
He added: “If you don’t show them they’re protected in the larger society, there’s no way they can leave their weapon. And that’s why we requested amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta.
“I’m not justifying their kidnapping, what they do is a crime. However, their kidnapping is to get more cash to purchase more weapons so they can defend themselves.”