Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has shelved negotiations with any groups of bandits in Kaduna State because of the stance of the state government, which forbids such moves, the aide to the cleric has revealed.
Gumi’s media aide, Malam Salisu Hassan, told SaharaReporters in an interview on Thursday that the cleric halted his plans because the state government was not interested in negotiations.
“No, it is not that Sheikh is busy. The problem is that since the government is not interested in reconciling with those people, so Sheikh just tried to have some other way so that he can achieve his goals. The Kaduna State government said they are not interested in negotiations,” Hassan said.
The bandits have continued to carry out attacks on Kaduna State, especially with the latest episode being the attack on a private university, Greenfield University at Kasarami, off the Kaduna-Abuja Road in the Chikun Local Government Area.
A staff member of the university, Paul Ude Okafor, was confirmed to have been killed by the bandits, while a number of students were kidnapped.
Only on Saturday, parents of the remaining 29 students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, revealed that bandits were threatening to kill the male students and get married to their female colleagues.
About 39 students had been abducted from their college dormitories on March 11, 2020, but 10 of the students – seven male and three females – were released last week after suspected payment of ransoms by their parents.
The kidnappers had demanded a N500 million ransom from the Kaduna State government but Governor Nasir El-Rufai vowed that his administration will not negotiate with bandits.
El-Rufai has insisted that the government will not negotiate with bandits and has also criminalised all forms of negotiations on behalf of the government.
Recently, the governor was reported to have said that the only way to end banditry in Nigeria was “for the military to kill them all.”
El-Rufai stated that the military should storm forests where bandits stay and bomb the whole place, thereby eliminating them.
He had spoken at a dialogue tagged, “Financing Safe Schools: Creating Safe Learning Communities” in Abuja on Wednesday.
El-Rufai also disclosed that all governors of the North have agreed that bandits must be wiped out.
He said, “Our position as governors and we are unanimous in this because we, the northern states’ governors, met with the president on this subject, our unanimous position is to wipe out the bandits.
“We must go into these forests; nobody living in that forest is innocent and just kill them all. It is the only way to end this.”
The governor also disclosed that the military needed sophisticated weapons to effectively wipe out bandits.