Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has stated bandits will not surrender until they feel safe.
He spoke on Wednesday during a virtual meeting hosted by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
Gumi said: “Nobody can justify criminality, what we are saying is what we saw in the forest is an ethnic war going on between people in the forest and the neighbouring villages and hamlets. When the herder felt he has grievances and nobody was listening to him, he took on weapons.”
“So when we went there and they saw a listening ear, they were ready to negotiate, tell us their grievances, and ready to incorporate into the society.
“So in such a case, I see no reason why we should not have a dialogue with them.”
He added: “If you don’t show them they’re safe in the larger society, there’s no way they can leave their weapon. And that’s why we asked for amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta.
“I’m not justifying their kidnapping, what they do is crime. But their kidnapping is to get more money to buy more weapons so they can protect themselves.”