• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

School abduction: Don’t repeat Buhari’s mistake, negotiate with bandits – Gumi tells Tinubu

Ahmad Gumi, a controversial Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, has offered to dialogue with bandits who abducted about 287 school children from Kuriga Government Secondary and LEA Primary Schools in the Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

Gumi asked President Bola Tinubu to give him the opportunity to negotiate with the bandits, saying the president must not repeat the mistake of his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, who refused to dialogue with the non state actors.

It was earlier reported that bandits invaded the Kuriga area of the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, shooting at their victims before taking away at least 280 of the pupils and teachers from both schools.

The incident occurred barely a day after insurgents abducted 200 internally displaced women while fetching firewood in the bush in Ngala, the headquarters of Gambarou Ngala, in Borno State.

Reacting to the development, Gumi, in a statement on Tuesday, said it is unfortunate that the government is standing against negotiation with bandits.

He said, “The government’s stand of no negotiation with the bandits is an unfortunate position. My advice is that the government should dialogue with the bandits not only for these Kuriga school children’s abductions but all cases.

“Also, the government should use the same approach it used in releasing passengers that were abducted on the Abuja–Kaduna train in 2022 to release the Kuriga school children and others.

“I am ready to lead a holistic dialogue between the government and bandits. It is my religious duty to do so for peace.

“I hope the present government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will listen by dialoguing with the bandits because the past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari refused to do so.”

Gumi had previously been involved in negotiations with bandits and terrorists for the release of abductees in Kaduna.

In May 2021, one of the parents of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, said rather than point an accusing finger at Gumi for being complicit in the banditry ravaging the country, Nigerians should commend the cleric for his interventions in seeking the release of abducted persons in the country.