Renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi has said he cannot be arrested or prosecuted for interacting with bandits in the north.
Recall that there have been growing calls for the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to arrest and prosecution of Sheikh Gumi.
A group known as the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) stated that Gumi’s interaction with bandits was a treasonable offence that should be decisively dealt with.
But speaking in a chat with Daily Post, Gumi stated that Kaduna and Zamfara states have also negotiated with bandits in the past and no one was arrested.
The popular cleric also disclosed that his interactions with bandits were done in the presence of government officials.
Asked to respond to those calling for his arrest, Gumi said: “Those are clowns, even the Kaduna State governor dialogued with them, Zamfara governor dialogued with them.
“I’m not the first person that started dialoguing with them (bandits). I only added value, and I find them to be religious; religion is the only thing that teaches you that blood has sanctity. So this is the religious angle.
I’m trying to gather them and teach them that there is sanctity to life. They cannot kill, rape and so on. This is the addition I hope will work. Note, I never visited these bandits without a government official, but they are in the background.
“All the bandits we met were with government officials, and that is why I said those calling for my arrest are clowns.”
Speaking further, he stated that his interaction with bandits in the north-west has yielded instant positive results.
“My interaction with bandits has yielded instant results. When you are dealing with somebody engrossed in criminality, if you approach him as a policeman, you will have a problem but if you come to him as a pastor, he will confess all his sins to you.
“So we approach them as clergy, and they feel comfortable to vomit all their problems. Hence, we see how we can appease and help them.
“We are not approaching them as an authority but from the spiritual angle. You know every human being has that spiritual influence, and that is why we are adopting that,” he added.