Renowned northern Islamic scholar , Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, said if government could pardon coup plotters that committed treasonable felony, there was nothing wrong extending the same gesture to bandits .
The Islamic cleric, while responding to the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday , said there was need to forgive bandits for the country to have peace .
Gumi added, “ Even those that instigated civil war , the civil war that millions of people died, were pardoned . I see no reason why we cannot accept their ( bandits ) repentance and give them amnesty .”
Gumi added that he never betrayed soldiers of Christian faith before the bandits when he visited them .
He noted that 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 .
Gumi said , “ 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.
“ 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 cannot accept their repentance .
“ Since that is the bottleneck and it is only the Federal Government that can give them that leverage . 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. ”