Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has described the efforts being made by a prominent northern-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi to woo bandits to lay down their arms and embrace peace, as an exercise in futility.
The governor said that the bandits were used to getting big money as ransom and will therefore find it difficult to repent after all.
He disclosed this on Thursday during an interview with the Hausa Service of the BBC, insisting that his administration is at war with the bandits and will never negotiate with them.
“I never believed that a Fulani herdsman who ventured into banditry and is collecting millions of Naira as ransom will repent. I spoke to Dr Gumi, who is my friend. I explained that the majority of these bandits don’t believe in religion. That is why they kill mercilessly,” he said.
“Anybody who thinks a Fulani herdsman that was used to only getting N100,000 in a year, after selling a cow but now is getting millions through kidnapping for ransom will stop, is only wasting his time.”
While warning that any of the criminals arrested in Kaduna State will face the law, El-Rufai said Gumi is wasting his time as there won’t be any forgiveness and compensation for bandits.
The governor also lamented the division amongst governors in the Northwest region on the synergy to confront the criminal elements in the North.
He maintained that while some of his colleagues preferred dialogue with bandits as a solution, he and other governors thought otherwise.
“We the governors lack unity among ourselves in this region in working as one to neutralise the bandits. We in Kaduna and Niger state are talking on how to end the problem.
“The governor of Niger State called me and we are discussing. Anybody that thinks a Fulani man that ventured into kidnapping for ransom and he is earning millions of Naira will go back to his former life of getting N100,000 after selling a cow in a year, must be deceiving himself.
“Why should they be compensated after killing people? They destroyed their houses. Who offended them? Ahmad Gumi is my friend and this is what I told him.
“I told him that the majority of these Fulani bandits don’t believe in religion. Therefore, I don’t believe in what he is doing, that they should be forgiven and compensated. If any bandit is arrested in Kaduna State, the bandit will be killed because Kaduna is in war with bandits,” he added.