Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi has urged Nigerians to show more understanding and empathy to bandits in order to aid their repentance and re-integration into the society.
Gumi made this assertion on Thursday via a lecture delivered at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said “if people listen to the bandits, they would become amenable to abandoning their violent ways”, while noting that residents can develop “mutual relationship with the bandits without being harmed.”
Gumi also detailed his interactions with the bandits in response to a question from a student.
“My interaction(s) with the bandits have been easy because I always go through the door, not the window. If you go through the door, you will go in and come back safely,” the cleric said.
In response to why the bandits did not abduct him despite repeated meetings, he said, “When we meet them, we don’t speak, we give them the microphone to speak even for one hour.
“When we first approached them, we saw that they were holding their warrant (weapons) ready to fire. By the time we finish our meeting, they will hand in their weapons and we will be taking pictures.
“So this is the power of human interaction which is what we are here to study as social scientists. That is the approach.”
He stated that he was able to gain the respect of the bandits through his pacifist approach while urging Nigerians to emulate the same.
“That is the respect I give them. I say come, come and sit with me. Come and sit down. I want to hear from you. With that respect, the Fulani man, you can get him.
“So don’t be surprised, if you are nice to him, if you are ready to listen to him, if you are trying to understand his problem, if you put your legs in his own shoes, he will listen to you, you will go to the forest and return safely, God willing,” the cleric said.
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