■ Wants bandits, herdsmen conscripted into security outfit
By Godsgift Onyedinefu
Renowned Islamic Cleric, Sheik Shmad Abubakar Gumi has said the bandits and Fulani herdsmen responsible for kidnappings, killings and other forms of criminality in parts of the country are ready to put their arms down, if only government will give them a listening ear.
The cleric recently embarked on a peace visit to some talks these bandits in Kaduna, Zamfara and Sokoto States to dialogue with them.
The cleric, during an interview on NigeriaInfo radio, said his visit found that the bandits have genuine reasons to resort to violence, but said they are ready to dialogue with government to find a lasting solution.
He regrets that government had been unwilling to dialogue and dialogue with the bandits and generally not serious about ending the conflict.
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He said, “Government should come down and negotiate with this people, they are ready to out down their weapons, but to talk with government is something difficult.
“The best thing is just to negotiate with them. Government must listen, not the bandits, they are humans, they eat normal lives, the ball is 100 percent in the court of government.
“They have listening ears, they have grievances, they are oppressed by government and society. Its a question of, if government is serious. “
He decried that since his return from the visit no responsible person from government has shown willingness to negotiate with him.
Gumi further recommended that the bandits and Fulani herdsmen be conscripted into a security outfit like done in the Civilian Joint Task Force to support peace efforts and military forces that are already overwhelmed.
“Incorporate them into the security system, plan, they are Nigerians, or Nigerians should be ready to be kidnapped “, he said.
Gumi further regrets that the conflict has lasted the to lack of foresight on the part of government and activities of corrupt officials in government who are reaping from the conflict.