Popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, is in the news again and this time, he is saying herdsmen learnt the act of kidnapping from Niger Delta militants.
Gumi who has been advocating for amnesty for the bandits said that if the government hold talks with the herdsmen, they will assist in flushing out the criminals in their midst.
Speaking as a guest on a programme on Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Tuesday, Gumi said just about 10 percent of Fulani herdsmen are criminals, adding that they took to criminality because they were victims of cattle rustling who had to defend themselves.
Gumi said the bandits learnt kidnapping from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
He further said if militants could be granted amnesty, then the same should be applicable to the bandits, claiming that the other 90 percent of the herdsmen will reveal the identity of the criminals among them.
“We didn’t take a different route of trying to solve this problem and that is why we are still here today. And when we say amnesty, we don’t mean that anyone proved to be involved in murder should go free as such,” Gumi said.
“They learnt kidnapping from MEND. I do not see any difference. They were the first victims of rustling. Their cattle is their oil. What we are seeing now is more of an insurgency than banditry. I can say 10 percent of the herders are criminals, not 90 percent, in the end, they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction.
“They themselves can take care of the little remnants of criminals among themselves because they don’t want anybody to bring mayhem to them,” Gumi said.