Grant bandits amnesty at Nigeria’s peril, Ikimi, Okolo tell FG

The Federal Government has been told not consider granting amnesty to rampaging bandits in the north as being championed by Sheik Ahmad Gumi and some governors from northern states.

Executive Director of the Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (CENTREP), Oghenejabor Ikimi and the Director of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Dr Philips Okolo, gave the warning in a separate chat with Tribune Online.

“I think Sheikh Gumi, like some northern elites, are merely justifying banditry and kidnappings in the north, as these bandits are criminal elements making a fortune vide the federal and state governments in the north, hence they can afford the services of a spokesperson to divert public opinion,” Ikimi averred.

The duo of Ikimi and Okolo described Sheik Gumi as a merchant profiting from the trade of banditry and terrorism, wondering why the Islamic cleric, who appears to be in the know of the modus operandi of the bandits, has not been invited by relevant security agencies for interrogation.

Ikimi, on his part, further averred that the criminal elements are not fighting an ethnic war of revenge as conjectured by Sheik Gumi, whom he accused of only taking the advantage of the Federal Government’s inactions to mislead the public.

Dr Okolo, a peace and conflict resolution expert who is the new acting Director of IPSS, in his submission, wondered why the Federal Government has been treating the bandits and their heinous crimes with kid gloves.

“FG’s knowledge of the locations of the bandits as claimed by Sheikh Gumi is also a very sensitive security issue that should be of concern to all well-meaning people of the country!

“I’d expected by now that the relevant security services (officials) would’ve invited the Sheikh for questioning and/or interrogation. Now, the fact that none of these has happened calls to question.

“Again, the Sheikh in my considered opinion is a merchant who is profiteering from the trade (banditry/terrorism) and much more,” he opined.

Concluding, Ikimi, who is a Delta-based human rights lawyer, asserted that the  FG has “failed in her primary responsibility of ensuring the welfare and security of her citizens if not Gumi would, by now, be chatting with our security operatives after his statement.”

He further warned that any attempt to grant the criminal elements amnesty would spell doom for the country, saying more sophisticated homegrown bandits would emerge.

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