Controversial Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has insisted that negotiating with bandits will end kidnapping and other criminality across the north and other parts of the country.
Gumi said there was need for government at all levels to engage the bandits, adding that they (bandits) were showing signs that they were ready for engagement.
Gumi, who spoke at a reception he organised for the released 37 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna, appealed to the governments to engage with the bandits so that they can abandon their ways.
Gumi said, “My appeal to government is to engage with the bandits so that the bandits can abandon their ways. They are already showing signs that they ready. They have grievances which I think if we come together, we can address, and cure this menace in a very short time.
“We want the cooperation of federal state and local governments, the clergy and other well-meaning Nigerians.
“You don’t negotiate with your friend; you negotiate with your enemy. The first thing you do is to try and break the ice and break the barrier between you and the person you are negotiating with and also build confidence by demonstrating that you are not going to deceive them.
“These are people who for a long time have been involved in this kind of criminality; we have to use psychology on them because it is not possible overnight to have their consent.
“But preaching to them, admonishing them and showing them the way out of their problems helped a lot in getting them understand and release these children.”