While responding to a statement made against him by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday, Sheikh Gumi said there was need for the government to forgive bandits so that there would be peace in the country.
Gumi said if the government Gumi could pardon coup plotters and those who instigated civil war that killed millions of people, why not do the same to bandits.
“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.
“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.”
The cleric 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.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Sheikh Gumi had called on the government to give bandits willing to make peace ‘blanket amnesty’ if the current security situation must be tackled.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that the bandits, who are killing and kidnapping innocent Nigerians, are criminals and should be treated as such.