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Why FG must pardon bandits – Gumi


Islamic scholar and former military officer, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Thursday, defended his comments that the federal government pardons bandits in the north, saying if FG could pardon coup plotters that committed treasonable felony, there was nothing wrong extending the same gesture to bandits.

Gumi said there was the need to forgive bandits for the country to have peace.

Recall that the Christian Association of Nigeria had on 3 March 2021, in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola,  berated Gumi, over comments he made when he addressed some bandits in Tegina forest, a border town between Niger and Kaduna states. CAN had taken particular angst over Gumi alleged statement profiling soldiers involved in criminality into Muslim and no-Muslims.

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The association had also wondered why bandits were now being pampered, and highly respected politicians and religious leaders speaking for them.

“Who truly offended these terrorists? What sin did the people they are attacking and kidnapping commit against them? Why should anybody be speaking in favour of the terrorists? Will pampering the terrorists not truly going to be around with us in the next 20 years as foretold by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff?” the statement said.

But on Thursday, Gumi responded to CAN explaining that since “those that instigated civil war, the civil war that millions of people died, were pardoned”, he “sees no reason why we cannot accept their (bandits) repentance and give them amnesty.”

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Gumi added that he never betrayed soldiers of Christian faith before the bandits when he visited them.

He noted that he was misunderstood by CAN because the video that went viral about his discussion with the bandits was distorted and the actual message was manipulated.

Gumi said, “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.

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“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 cannot accept their repentance.

“Since that is the bottleneck and it is only the Federal Government that can give them that leverage. Strangely, we found out that they are victims too. They were victims of profiling. So many of them were arrested and punished just for looking like herdsmen.