Popular Nigerian Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has made a chilling revelation about the current rise in school kidnappings in the country and also the North Western part of Nigeria having about 100,000 armed bandits. ayokinews.com reports
Sheikh Gumi made this revelation known during an interview with PUNCH. He noted that the bandits were disappointed that he (Gumi) was the only one who came to negotiate with them without the intervention of the government.
He further stated that the Nigerian government needs to negotiate with the raging armed bandits before the situation gets out of hands.
Speaking on the current upsurge in school kidnapping, Sheikh Gumi said that school abductions would not come to an end in the country unless the federal government agrees to dialogue with the armed bandits.
“We are trying to talk sense to them that these are just innocent schoolchildren. We don’t even have any idea of the condition of the children. We are just saying these are young children trying to study and they did nothing, so why are you trying to take dirty money from their families?
“This (kidnap of Islamic pupils) actually proves to the nation that the bandits are not really indoctrinated, they are just looking for money and I think that this is a good prognosis. They are not targeting a religion; they are not ideologues, which are difficult to deal with. We should not forget that they are not educated, formally or informally. They are just going about with cattle, and suddenly they found a lucrative way of finding money.
“But with good engagement, education and enticements like jobs and other things, they will leave this work. But we need a partner and we need the government to understand. Individuals like me alone cannot do it.
“All those we met (have stopped kidnapping), except for one of them who is kidnapping again, and he told us his reason, that he was neglected and he thought we had the mandate to negotiate. But when he realised that we did not have the mandate from anybody, he said he was going back to his business.
“So, the earlier we go into engaging them, the better. The ones who have agreed to lay down arms, you can engineer them to take care of the rest,” Sheikh Gumi stated.