A popular Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi has said bandits learnt kidnapping from the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
Gumi made the claims on Tuesday while speaking on an Africa Independent Television (AIT) programme.
According to the cleric, the bandits deserve to be granted amnesty just the way the Federal Government granted the militants.
He expressed optimism that if the government could grant amnesty to the bandits, they will expose those perpetrating criminality.
“We didn’t take a different route of trying to solve this problem and that is why we are still here today. And when we say amnesty, we don’t mean that anyone proved to be involved in murder should go free as such.”
“They learned about kidnapping from MEND. I do not see any difference. They were the first victims of rustling. Their cattle are their oil. What we are seeing now is more of an insurgency than banditry. I can say 10 percent of the herders are criminals, not 90 percent, in the end, they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction.
“They can take care of the little remnants of criminals among themselves because they don’t want anybody to bring mayhem to them,” he said.
Recall that the Sheik recently met with some bandits in the forest appealing to them to embrace peace.
Following his meeting with the bandits, Gumi asked the federal government to pardon them, however, many prominent Nigerians including some governors rejected his recommendation, saying kidnappers must be punished.