Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, on Thursday said if the government can pardon coup plotters under the military regime, then bandits should enjoy the same benefit under democracy.
Gumi while responding to the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna said there is need to pardon bandits for Nigeria to enjoy peace.
Gumi added, “Even those that instigated civil war, the civil war that millions of people died, were pardoned. I see no reason why we cannot accept their (bandits) repentance and give them amnesty.”
The cleric further stated that he did not betray Christian soldiers when he met with bandits.
He added that CAN misunderstood him, because the video that went viral about his discussion with the bandits was distorted and the actual message was manipulated.
Gumi said, “You ask why do we give them amnesty but they told us specifically that they are ready to drop their arms and they don’t want to be pursued with legal actions after they repented.”
“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.”
“These people in the bush, who have taken arms; they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed. Even those that instigated civil war; civil war that millions of people died, I see no reason why we cannot accept their repentance.”
“Since that is the bottleneck and it is only the Federal Government that can give them that leverage. Strangely, we found out that they are victims too. They were victims of profiling. So many of them were arrested and punished just for looking like herdsmen.”
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has warned prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi to stay away from the South-South over the statement credited to him that Christian soldiers are responsible for banditry and violence in the country.
PANDEF in a statement released on Wednesday also called on the federal government to declare Gumi’s submission on the matter as hate speech.