From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Controversial Islamic scholar, Sheik Abubakar Gumi, has maintained that for Nigeria to get out of banditry and achieve peace, the bandits must be granted amnesty.
In a reply to the criticism of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Gumi said if those that instigated 30-month civil war that claimed the lives of millions of Nigerian and coup plotters could be pardoned, there is no justification or reason why the country cannot give amnesty to repentant bandits.
“You ask why do we give them amnesty, but they told us specifically that they are ready to drop their arms and they don’t want to be pursued with legal actions after they repented. If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.”
He denied betraying Christian troops before the bandits when he visited them in the forests in Niger State. He claimed the viral video about his discussion with the bandits was distorted and the actual message was manipulated.
“These people in the bush who have taken arms, they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed, even those that instigated civil war; civil war that millions of people died, I see no reason why we can not accept their repentance since that is the bottle-neck and it is only the Federal Government that can give them that leverage. And strangely we found out that they are victims too. They were victims of profiling.”