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Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has urged the Federal Government to align with splinter groups among bandits as a unique way to ending mass abduction of school pupils.
Gumi, gave this advise in an interview with The PUNCH published on Friday. The newspaper quizzed Gumi on the recent abduction of 156 Islamiyya schoolchildren in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, and Gumi responded that many bandits were ready for a dialogue, adding that government could use them to fight the “ugly ones.”
He said, “We are always trying to do our best, but you see, you need two hands to shake. You know these people (bandits) need engagements from the government itself. If you dialogue with them without the involvement of the government, it is a problem.
“Government needs to be proactive with them. We have a lot of them that are ready to fight the bad ones. Use the bad to fight the ugly, and use the good to fight the bad ones when you’re done with the ugly. Look at Boko Haram, who finished Shekau? Was it not the splinter group? So, it is easy.
“All these agitations you see, if the government can do a splinter group and the splinter group is empowered, every man wants power and money, they will do your job. There are many ready to submit themselves. All the ones you see me meeting in the bush, they are all telling us, ‘we are ready.”
Gumi, a soft-spoken cleric who has been advocating peace deals between the government and terrorist herders has at different times claimed extending the olive branch is the only way to solving banditry problem in the country.
He had held series of meetings with bandits terrorizing Kaduna and Zamfara State. The cleric was involved in negotiations with bandits who abducted 317 female students were abducted from Government Day Secondary School, Jangebe at Talata Mafara Local Government Area in Zamfara State in February.