Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Gumi, has stated that the country is fighting a tribal war, adding that, amnesty should be given to bandits if they must quit the forests.
He advised the federal government to not take sides but rather to remain neutral with the ongoing tribal war.
He made the statement on Wednesday, June 23, on the Arise News ‘Morning Show’ anchored by Dr Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Tundun Abiola.
“What you call banditry when you cross to the other side, you discover Nigeria is fighting a tribal war and government is supposed to be the mediator, it supposed to be neutral, it’s not supposed to take sides.
“But the moment government takes a side, it becomes part of the conflict. And this is what I saw in Zamfara state, in Niger state and other states.
“This is a tribal war going on and the government doesn’t have to take one side.
“When you said these bandits are committing atrocities, yes, agree they are committing crimes – they are killing people, they are raping, they are doing all sorts of atrocities.
“But, have you for once gone to their own sides and seen all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?
“Do you know that an ordinary herdsman is lynched in many towns in Nigeria? We have seen that in Oyo, we have seen that in Anambra, we have seen that in many regions of Nigeria.
“I think there should be well-meaning Nigerians that should stay neutral in this tribal war.”
Gumi further stressed that the bandits are ready to surrender if the government will provide means of livelihood for them.
“The example, I think we take an example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, they were given the pipelines to guard.
“Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby they are preventing farmers from farming. As that is important to them, these herdsmen now are becoming important to the Nigerian.
“They are our guards, they guard the forests. They have qualities that we tap from,” Gumi said.