A revered Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has advised the federal government to support subdivided groups among the bandits in order to end the mass kidnappings of schoolchildren.
Gumi, who spoke on the phone to PUNCH on Wednesday about the kidnapping of 200 Islamiyya students in the Rafi local government area in Niger state, said many thieves were ready for dialogue, adding that the government can use them against the “ugly ones.”
He said, “We are always trying to do our best, but you see, you need two hands to shake. You know these people (bandits) need engagements from the government itself. If you dialogue with them without the involvement of the government, it is a problem.
“Government needs to be proactive with them. We have a lot of them that are ready to fight the bad ones. Use the bad to fight the ugly, and use the good to fight the bad ones when you’re done with the ugly. Look at Boko Haram, who finished Shekau? Was it not the splinter group? So, it is easy.
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“All these agitations you see, if the government can do a splinter group and the splinter group is empowered, every man wants power and money, they will do your job. There are many ready to submit themselves. All the ones you see me meeting in the bush, they are all telling us, ‘we are ready.’”