….says some northern govs ready for talks with bandits
Islamic cleric and peace negotiator, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said insecurity in some parts of the country may not subside unless the Federal Government negotiates with aggrieved bandits and armed herdsmen.
Speaking yesterday on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, Gumi said the government has learnt its lessons that military force and bombardment will not end banditry in the country, adding that some northern governors are ready and have started negotiation with the bandits.
He disclosed that Zamfara, Kebbi and other states have opened discussion with bandits and they are ready to lay down their arms.
“There is a peace process going on now and they are ready to lay down their arms, stop kidnapping and everything they are doing.
“The Federal Government has learnt their lessons because the first approach they had did not work and they realized that they have failed. So they are now very careful watching and studying and see how they will go about it.
The only element now I’m adding to it, they should not just wait and watch, go in and negotiate,” he said. On whether Boko Haram are probably masquerading as bandits, Gumi said: “I can say categorically that they are not Boko Haram, but if the pressure is too much, I’m afraid they can be influenced by Boko Haram.
We have seen the signs that Boko Haram is going to infiltrate them, but so far, they are not Boko Haram and they are ready to lay down their arms.
“And there is an incident that happened in Zamfara during the former regime, the Fulani themselves caught some few elements of Boko Haram and presented them to the government.
“So, they are not Boko Haram. Now and I’m telling you that they are citizens, they recognize the government and the authority. Boko Haram doesn’t recognize anybody except themselves.
So we are happy now that Boko Haram is not in and we should step in and give them teaching of Islam, which is Islam of peace, Islam of compassion and Islam of mercy. And this is exactly what I’m trying to achieve.” Speaking on the nationality and language used by the bandits, he said: “They speak Fufude and they speak Hausa.
That is why we call them Hausa-Fulani because of the interlacing of the culture and language between the Fulani and Hausa, but with their physique and everything, they are Fulani. They are Nigerians and some of them have parents in the town.”
He noted further that, “We are having an ethnic war because the Fulani nomadic feels his existence is threatened. So, what they do is that when they have a war, they call other Fulani from other countries, irrespective of where they are, Fulani is Fulani. They