Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi says Nigeria should not have trouble pardoning bandits since it also pardoned coup plotters that committed treasonable felony in the past.
He said pardoning and granting amnesty to the bandits would help restore the nation to a path of peace.
Gumi spoke on Thursday in response to a Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) statement in Kaduna over the alleged betrayal of Christian soldiers to bandits.
“Even those that instigated civil war, the civil war that millions of people died, were pardoned. I see no reason why we cannot accept their (bandits) repentance and give them amnesty,” the cleric stated.
He denied betraying Christian soldiers before the bandits as shown in a video that went viral recently.
According to Gumi, the video was distorted and his actual message manipulated to cast him in a bad light.
“You ask why do we give them amnesty but they told us specifically that they are ready to drop their arms and they don’t want to be pursued with legal actions after they repented.
“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.
“These people in the bush, who have taken arms; they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed. Even those that instigated civil war; civil war that millions of people died, I see no reason why we cannot accept their repentance.
“Since that is the bottleneck and it is only the Federal Government that can give them that leverage. Strangely, we found out that they are victims too. They were victims of profiling. So many of them were arrested and punished just for looking like herdsmen,” Gumi said.