Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has declared that bandits are peaceful people.
Gumi said bandits are victims of circumstances.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Islamic teacher, however, condemned the act of criminality by bandits.
He stressed that bandits were forced into criminality.
According Gumi: “When I listened to them, I found out that it is a simple case of criminality which turned into banditry, which turned into ethnic war, and some genocide too behind the scene; people don’t know.
“There is no excuse for any crime; nothing can justify crime, and they are committing crime.
“I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality.
“And this is what we should look at, let’s remove the pressure, let’s remove the things that made them into criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”
Bandits have been on the rampage in states like Niger, Katsina and some parts of the North.
In Niger State, bandits had abducted students and staff of Government Science College, GSC, in Kagara.
About 41 persons, most of whom are students and staff of the school were abducted.
Following their renewed onslaught in the North, Gumi had met with some of the bandits, a situation that led to claims of him negotiating with them.
He, however, denied negotiating the release of those abducted.
The Islamic scholar had also advocated for amnesty for bandits.