BANDITRY: THE PRESS IS ADDING TO THE FIRE BY CALLING BANDITS CRIMINALS- SHEIKH GUMI
Popular Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has accused journalists of fuelling banditry by labelling bandits criminals.
The cleric who has been meeting with bandits in an attempt to put an end to the insecurity in the country said this during an interview with Arise TV.
“Even the press are criminals too because they are putting oil into fire. These people are listening to you. You don’t address them as criminals if you want them to succumb. Youths are ready to put down their weapons. Now, they hear you calling them criminals, how do you want them to cooperate?’ Gumi said.
He argued that the press ought to use nicer words while referring to bandits and “show them that they are Nigerians.”
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In his words: “So, you have to show them that they are Nigerians, that they should not hurt children and that they should be law-abiding. This is the language we want to hear (from) the press in assisting us in getting the boys.
“When we talk to them with nice wordings, they are ready to put their weapons down, they are ready to listen to us. But when the language is about criminality, about kill them, jail them, then this is what we end up having.”
The cleric who has become a peace negotiator between bandits and the government said “the language of criminality should be struck out.” when addressing bandits.
When asked if he believes anybody that kills, rapes, kidnaps and robs people is a criminal, Gumi said “he’s a criminal.”
“But let me show you one thing. If you are stopped by armed robbers on the road, this word criminal, you will not use it on them. You will tell them good things, obey them so that you will save yourself,” he added.
READ ALSO: KAGARA ABDUCTION: SHEIKH GUMI ASKS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO GRANT BLANKET AMNESTY TO BANDITS
Recall the Shiekh urged the Federal Government to grant blanket amnesty to bandits to tackle insecurity in the country.
The cleric claimed the bandits complained that they were being unjustly killed and maimed by security operatives.
Niger state, as well as some other northern states, have experienced a spike in bandit attacks where the criminals invade villages, kill residents, loot properties, rustle cows, and abduct people for ransom.
READ ALSO: NIGERIA GOVERNORS CONSIDERS DIALOGUE WITH BANDITS
On Wednesday, February 17, bandits invaded the Government Science College, Kagara in the Rafi Local Government Area of the state and abducted 27 students and 15 workers.
Meanwhile, the bandits responsible for the Kagara abduction have threatened to starve the captives to death if the ransom they are demanding is not paid on time.
In an audio recording that captured conversations in Hausa between one of the abductors and a negotiator reportedly identified by Shiekh Gumi as a top official of the school, the bandits rejected the sum of N2.7 million offered as a ransom for the abducted students.
READ ALSO: KAGARA ABDUCTION: KIDNAPPERS THREATEN TO STARVE CAPTIVES TO DEATH
The bandits also mocked the efforts of security operatives in Kagara trying to secure the release of the captives while giving hints that the criminals are working in collaboration with insiders in the city.
The abductor boasted that they succeeded in compelling Zamfara state to accept their terms and threatened to rob Niger state of peace if it doesn’t halt the activities of vigilantes.