Popular Islamic cleric Sheik Ahmad Gumi says henceforth he has nothing to do with bandits who have now been declared terrorists.
A federal high court sitting in Abuja had recently declared the violent extremists as terrorists due to increased criminal activities prevalent particularly in the North-West and North-Central geo-political zones.
Before the declaration, Mr Gumi occasionally stood as the mediator between the bandits and concerned parties who often have either their lads or relatives abducted for ransom payment.
He called on the federal government to grant them amnesty, same treatment meted out to Niger Delta militant when they resorted to blowing up oil pipelines to cripple the nation’s economy when their demands were not met by the federal government.
The President Muhammadu Buhari regime has refused to grant the cleric’s demand, maintaining that it will not negotiate with criminals.
“Since the Federal Government has declared them terrorists, I don’t have anything to do with them anymore,” Mr Gumi said in an interview with Premium Times. “I will not like to expose myself to danger again and to put a spotlight on myself unnecessarily.
“I have tried all I could do to admonish the nation on the best way to do it, but it seems my advice has fallen on deaf ears.
“I have endangered my life for peace by going to the forest and engaging the bandits.
“Among them, there are rock bandits, they are dangerous, armed ready to fire.
“It is dangerous, but still we risked our lives to see that we bring peace to this nation.
“Somebody has to take that risk and we took it and thanked God we came out safely and knowledgeable, knowing how to come about this issue.
“Maybe in the future when the political situation changes for the better, we can do it again so that there will be peace, harmony and tranquillity in the country.”