Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has described those calling on the government to arrest him, for negotiating with bandits, as clowns.
Mr Gumi has recently been negotiating and asking the federal government to grant blanket amnesty to the criminals elements, which according to him, took up arms after their cows were rustled.
The government has declined his request, although the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, has said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was waiting for the popular cleric to help it tackle worsening insecurity nationwide.
Some Nigerians, including the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), had recently asked Mr Buhari to order the arrest of the cleric for dialoguing with criminal elements.
But in an interview with Daily Post, the cleric described his foes as clowns, saying he is not the first to engage bandits.
Gumi who reportedly said government officials were always with the bandits each time he visits them.
“Even the Kaduna State governor dialogued with them, Zamfara governor dialogued with them,” the cleric said, adding that, “I’m not the first person that started dialoguing with them (bandits).
“I only added value, and I find them to be religious; religion is the only thing that teaches you that blood has sanctity. So this is the religious angle.
“I’m trying to gather them and teach them that there is sanctity to life. They cannot kill, rape and so on. This is the addition I hope will work. Note, I never visited these bandits without a government official, but they are in the background.
“All the bandits we met were with government officials, and that is why I said those calling for my arrest are clowns.
“My interaction with bandits has yielded instant results. When you are dealing with somebody engrossed in criminality, if you approach him as a policeman, you will have a problem but if you come to him as a pastor, he will confess all his sins to you,” he added.