Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said killing bandits will only worsen the security situation in the country.
He made the statement during an interview with The PUNCH on efforts to rescue the kidnapped pupils of Tegina Islamic School, Niger State.
“This (kidnap of Islamic pupils) actually proves to the nation that the bandits are not really indoctrinated, they are just looking for money and I think that this is a good prognosis. They are not targeting a religion; they are not ideologues, which are difficult to deal with.
But with good engagement, education and enticements like jobs and other things, they will leave this work. But we need a partner and we need the government to understand. Individuals like me alone cannot do it,” he said.
He insisted that the government could not protect schools without first finding means to end banditry in the country. He advised the government to engage the bandits instead of killing them because they were victims too.
“Ninety per cent of those who have weapons use them to protect themselves against cattle rustlers. They are victims too. Aerial bombardments will only worsen the situation because when you start killing their children, you remember they also have our children,” he added.