MURIC Counters Gumi, Says Government Must Not Negotiate Or Talk With Bandits

Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has warned government against entering into any form of talks or any negotiation with bandits before they surrender and abandoned their criminal activities.

The Director of MURIC’s position was in contradiction to the call by Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, Muslim cleric and Mufti of Kaduna Central Mosque.

Gumi had repeatedly argued that government should negotiate with the bandits who have been killing, looting and abducting school children, especially in the Northwest part of the country as a way of encouraging them to abandon their criminal activities.

The Cleric, who has been going into the bushes to meet with the bandits also come under criticisms from many Nigerians over his assertion in his latest interview that because bandits ‘kidnap only for money’, they are better than members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who, according to him, murder their victims.

But Akintola in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos urged opinion leaders not to make comments that trivialise the crimes being committed by bandits.

The MURIC director who did not refer to Gumi by name noted that recent statements by some opinion leaders, could truncate moves to enthrone peace.

He called on Nigerians at all levels to be honest in discussing the issue of banditry in some parts of the country.

“Nothing can reduce the degree of the crimes being committed by bandits, we should not look for excuses for them.

“We should also let the bandits know the gravity of their crimes and the religious status of their sins,” he said.

Akintola explained that banditry was to wage unprovoked war against the people, saying “the scripture even sees it as waging war against God and His messenger”.

“The scripture does not treat banditry with kid gloves, nothing should be taken off the promise of heavy punishment for bandits even after death,” he warned.

He said that banditry had become a hydra-headed monster threatening to swallow-up the social order.

“It must therefore be met with every necessary force to stop it. We call on bandits to surrender to the state wherever they are operating.

“There can be no talks or any form of negotiation with bandits before surrendering,” he said.

According to him, apart from the long arm of the law which will eventually catch up with bandits, the awaiting everlasting heavy punishment should be enough to dissuade them.

The director described the activities of bandits as horrific and condemnable, adding that they should be fiercely confronted and resisted.

Akintola also urged state governors to give priority attention to the fight against insecurity by spending their security vote (funds) judiciously.

“We want to see the security votes spent on equipping state security outfits so that they can adequately and sufficiently meet the current security challenges.

“Governors should avoid abdicating their responsibilities, they should rather tackle them squarely for a better outcome,” he said.

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