With just 61 days to Nigeria’s 2023 elections, popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has told Nigerians to vote for only the candidate who will not fight bandits if elected into office.
The controversial Islamic cleric urged Nigerians, in a sermon, to vote for leaders who would negotiate with bandits when elected into office.
Describing bandits as “our people,” Gumi said Nigeria’s next set of leaders should negotiate and give bandits what they want for peace to reign.
“Don’t vote for those who will fight bandits. The fighters (bandits) are our people. So please vote for those who, after attaining power, will call and negotiate with our people (bandits) so as to give them what they want for peace to reign,” he said.
Bandits have been ravaging some Northern States like Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, and Taraba.
The heavily armed gangs, known locally as bandits, have wreaked havoc across Northwest Nigeria in the past two years, kidnapping thousands, killing hundreds and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas. The attacks have confounded and overstretched Nigeria’s security forces.
These bandit groups had been formed in response to growing inter-communal conflict over land and resources.
The controversial Islamic scholar had in October 2021 warned President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government not to declare bandits as terrorists, saying doing so would come with a big price.
Mr Gumi, an ex-soldier and medical doctor, has been campaigning for amnesty for the terror bandits, visiting forests in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States to meet with Governors and some notorious bandits with a view to striking a peace deal with them.