Leaders of selected bandit groups around Kidandan in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Tuesday pledged to repent from their criminal activities after an interactive meeting with Dr Ahmad Gumi.
Dr Gumi has since early January commenced a daring peace mission to selected dangerous enclaves to carry out a Da’awa (preaching) campaign.
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In the first week of January 2021, the scholar visited Fulani communities along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, where rampant kidnappings and other criminal activities are prevalent. He later visited Gamagira in Soba LGA before his latest visit to Kidandan in Giwa LGA on Tuesday.
The Islamic scholar had lamented the high rate of illiteracy among the Fulani and assured of his commitment to rendering assistance in Islamic knowledge.
At Kidandan on Tuesday, Daily Trust gathered that leaders of various Fulani communities as well as suspected bandit commanders, women and children, the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Nigeria (MACBAN) were in attendance.
Gumi, who was provided cover by the Kaduna state Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri and his men, said the bandit commanders had repented while giving the condition for the government to provide them basic amenities and for security agents to stop profiling them for extortion and arbitrary arrests.
Dr Gumi said it was unfair to describe them all as bandits adding that only about 10 per cent of the Fulani were into criminality.
He told Daily Trust correspondents that based on his interactions with the Fulani in Kidandan, they had informed him and other stakeholders, including the commissioner of Police, of how they have been forced to take up arms.
He said the Fulani had spoken of being subjected to arbitrary arrests by security agents as well as constant harassments and being shunned by society.
“When we speak with them, they say they blame the government. Well, the government has to be blamed because they need to take proactive steps to see that there are amenities in their areas. They don’t have electricity and not even water or anything. There is no presence of government in their areas,” he said.
The Kaduna State Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Nigeria (MACBAN), Haruna Usman Tugga on Wednesday told Daily Trust that Dr Gumi’s initiative was highly commendable, stressing that MACBAN had in the past suggested such an approach to tackling insecurity.
Tugga said the bandit commanders had accused security agents and government of forcing them into taking up arms to defend themselves.
“The main issue is the fact that most of them are illiterates and when you find such a person who has lost everything because of injustice, such a person becomes gullible and is easily persuaded into crime,” he said.
“The commanders have agreed that as long as their issues are tackled by government and security agents, as long as they have basic amenities in their communities and they are not killed and arrested arbitrarily, they will put down their arms, they have assured us and Dr Gumi of their commitment to do so,” he said.
When contacted, the Kaduna State Police command confirmed that the CP was at the meeting at Kidandan, which was organized by Dr Ahmad Gumi stressing that the police had been there to give him security back up.
Speaking with Daily Trust, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige said contrary to information in circulation, no arm was handed over at Kidandan but said the people had made their grievances known to Dr Gumi and the CP.
“Dr Gumi sought the consent of the Inspector General of Police before he commenced his peace mission and he has visited two other places before Kidandan. He is trying to reach out to the Fulani communities because of the insecurity they are accused of causing. They promised that they have repented.”
ASP Jalige said Dr Gumi’s initiative is a good one which the Police command supports and said it is hoped that more positive development will emerge from the interaction.