The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, on Saturday faulted those condemning Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, popular Islamic cleric for interfacing with bandits.
AYCF National President, Yerima Shettima said Gumi should be commended and not condemned for his efforts in negotiating with bandits.
Speaking with Akelicious, Shettima said Gumi’s interaction with bandits was his contribution to the well-being of the society.
According to Shettima: “Gumi is making these efforts as a contribution to the wellbeing of the society. You cannot look at issues alone and believe that guns alone can solve problems.
“This is nothing new, we have seen it happen in the Niger Delta and to that extent, the issue of amnesty came to be. So those willing to repent should be encouraged and those who are criminal minded should be dealt with decisively.
“So what Gumi is doing is not different from what was obtained in the past, in fact he should be commended not condemned. He should be commended for his effort and at the same time for taking the risk.
“I am sure he is not doing it on his own, he has the backing of some governors who feel the burden should not be all on the center (Federal Government), they should also make efforts. So he is doing his own.
“It is left for the federal government at the centre to deem it necessary when the time comes to do the needful.
“After all, we know who Gumi is, he is somebody who is highly principled and we so much respect him in the Northern part of the country, and you know he cannot find himself in anything that would indict him. So to that extent, let’s encourage, commend him and see how far he can go.”
Gumi had met with some bandits in the North following the resurgence of banditry in the region.
Following their renewed activities, the controversial Islamic cleric had called for blanket amnesty for bandits.
GumiHe had also claimed that the bandits feel that “everyone is against them,” hence their fight for survival.
Amid his interactions with bandits, some Nigerians and groups had called for his arrest and prosecution.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, had insisted that Gumi’s interaction with bandits was a treasonable offence.