Renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheik Abubakar Gumi, has said those who instigated civil war where millions of people were killed were pardoned why not do the same to bandits.
He also said bandits must be forgiven if Nigeria is serious about ending the wave of violence across the country.
Sheikh Gumi, who has been on peace-seeking mission to the strongholds of bandits, said the government pardoned those who instigated the civil war that led to the deaths of millions of people, wondering why bandits cannot be pardoned.
“I see no reason why we can not accept their (bandits) repentance and give them amnesty. You ask why do we give them amnesty but they told us specifically that they are ready to drop their arms and they don’t want to be pursued with legal actions after they repented.
“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.”
He made this known while expressing his reservation over the statement made against him by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The Islamic scholar said he was misunderstood by CAN because the video that went viral about his discussion with the bandits was distorted and the actual message was manipulated.
“These people in the bush who have taken arms, they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed. Even those that instigated civil war; civil war that millions of people died, I see no reason why we can not accept their repentance.
“Since that is the bottle-neck and it is only the federal government that can give them that leverage. And strangely we found out that they are victims too. They were victims of profiling. So many of them were arrested and punished just for looking like herdsmen.
“Nigerians should embrace each other and live in peace. We should not try to do anything that will cause havoc. I will also call on the press to desist from sensational reporting because this nation is already in flames.
“You should be very careful in what you report. What you see. Continue reporting responsibly and you should not stir the Christian brethren who are known to be peaceful and law-abiding. We have been together for long and nobody can separate us, we should learn to live together in peace.”