Renowned northern Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, said if government could pardon coup plotters that committed treasonable felony, there was nothing wrong extending the same gesture to bandits.
The Islamic cleric, while responding to the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday, said there was need to forgive bandits for the country to have 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.”
Gumi added that he never betrayed soldiers of Christian faith before the bandits when he visited them.
He noted that he was misunderstood by CAN 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.”