HomeNewsGumi Summoned for Talks After Advocating Negotiation with Bandits

Gumi Summoned for Talks After Advocating Negotiation with Bandits

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The Nigerian government has summoned prominent Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for talks following his controversial remarks about banditry in the country.

Minister of Information and Orientation Mohammed Idris disclosed this development to journalists on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital. The move comes after Sheikh Gumi, a vocal figure in northern Nigeria, publicly criticized the government’s use of force against bandit groups, arguing it has exacerbated the crisis.

Gumi Calls for Dialogue, Amnesty Program

Sheikh Gumi has become a prominent figure in Nigeria’s ongoing struggle with banditry, which has seen armed gangs terrorize communities in the country’s northwest and central regions. The cleric has previously met with bandit leaders in a bid to negotiate the release of kidnapped victims.

In his recent comments, Sheikh Gumi argued that force is not the answer to the banditry problem. He said a more constructive approach would involve opening communication channels with the bandits and understanding their motivations.

“These bandits are getting more vicious. Before they were not doing this,” Sheikh Gumi was quoted as saying. “We need a program like the Niger Delta amnesty initiative. This is how you entice people to abandon violence.”

The cleric specifically proposed an amnesty program similar to the one implemented by the government in 2009 to quell militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. That program offered cash payments and job training to former militants who agreed to disarm.

Sheikh Gumi also claimed that the government already knows the identities of some bandit leaders, but lacks intelligence on their foot soldiers. He argued that this hinders the effectiveness of military operations.

Government Response and Remaining Questions

The Nigerian government has not publicly commented on the specifics of Sheikh Gumi’s proposals. However, Minister Idris emphasized that the cleric is not above the law and that his comments would be reviewed.

“The government will stop at nothing to get any kind of information that is required to solve our problems,” Idris said. “Sheikh Gumi and any other individual are not above the law.”

Sheikh Gumi’s summons for talks has sparked mixed reactions in Nigeria. Some see it as a positive step towards finding a solution to the banditry crisis. Others remain skeptical, questioning the cleric’s motives and the viability of negotiating with criminals.

The coming days may shed light on the content of the discussions between Sheikh Gumi and the government. Nigerians wait anxiously to see if a new approach can bring an end to the violence that continues to plague the nation.

Source: Vanguard

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