Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has asked that bandits ravaging villages, abducting school children and killing Nigerians be respected and accorded human rights.
“The bandits also have empathy as we have; they have families, children. The first step is to use psychology on them. They aired their grievances and are ready to change.
“They should be respected and should be given all the human rights everybody has,” Mr Gumi said Thursday at a peace conference by the Center for the Advancement of Human Dignity and Value held at Arewa House in Kaduna.
A self-appointed mediator for bandits, Mr Gumi, said instead of Nigeria increasing military spending, a third of such funds should be used on the bandits to end banditry in the country.
“Some are suggesting killing them. All because they are killing. For three year’s you have spent $1 billion, and now you need another $1 billion. But, I said one-third of that will enlighten them, and they will stop killing. Have you tried it? Nobody tried it,” Mr Gumi said.
Contrary to Mr Gumi’s stance, Katsina Governor Aminu Masari said he regrets that bandits have continued with their nefarious activities despite being granted amnesty.
In several coordinated attacks, the criminals have kidnapped hundreds across North-East states, forcing school closure in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara at different points.
In July, bandits blew off a Nigerian Airforce jet in Zamfara and raided the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna in August, killing two.