Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said that those seeking his arrest because of his position on bandits are clowns.
He also said that he had also suffered in the hands of the bandits because his elder brother was kidnapped and he had to pay a ransom to get him released.
Gumi made the disclosure in an interview as he responded to critics who clamoured for his arrest for making a case for bandits and for visiting them in their forest conclaves.
He called the critics clowns and said he had also been a victim of the bandits on several occasions.
“Also in our mosque, we have paid ransom. Even now, somebody is asking me to assist him to pay ransom. Our family driver who happens to be our relative, his son, a private soldier, was killed by bandits. So how I can support such people?” Gumi told Premium Times.
The Islamic cleric who said his efforts with bandits have been sabotaged recently revealed that he has quit meeting with bandits because it would be dangerous for him to continue to engage with them.
Gumi described those calling for his arrest as not different from bandits stressing that it is a constitutional right for someone to express his views.
The cleric said his efforts is to prevent banditry in his own way stating that he has also been a victim of banditry.
“They are clowns, they don’t know anything about the Nigerian society, they don’t know about the Nigerian constitution and liberty. It is a constitutional right for someone to express his views, so long you are not calling for violence or to harm anybody.
"These people calling for my arrest, I don’t see them different from the bandits. To say that I am supporting or sponsoring bandits is malicious. I am just trying to cure them in my own way. I am trying to prevent it my own way and I have seen how my little efforts have helped.
"I just have a different perspective in addressing the issue. But to encourage them? No. To help them? No. It is impossible. I am also a victim of banditry."