Renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi, has restated his stance that bandits are not in any way worse than Niger Delta militants.
The Islamic scholar said this as he continued his campaign for amnesty for the bandits terrorising the North.
Gumi who was a guest on a programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Tuesday, February 16, said bandits learnt how to kidnap from Niger Delta Militants and should be granted amnesty just like them.
According to the cleric, only a handful of herders are criminals and they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction after their cows which is their “oil”, were rustled.
Speaking on live TV, Gumi said; “We didn’t take a different route of trying to solve this problem and that is why we are still here today. And when we say amnesty, we don’t mean that anyone proved to be involved in murder should go free as such.
“They learnt kidnapping from MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta). I do not see any difference. They were the first victims of rustling. Their cattle is their oil.
“What we are seeing now is more of an insurgency than banditry. I can say 10 per cent of the herders are criminals, not 90 per cent; in the end, they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction.
“They themselves can take care of the little remnants of criminals among themselves because they don’t want anybody to bring mayhem to them.”