Former Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, said he had appealed to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi to help secure the release of students and missionaries kidnapped by bandits in Kaduna.
Sani, who disclosed this on his Twitter handle on Monday, said he made the appeal when he visited the home of the Islamic cleric.
His tweet read, “Earlier today in Kaduna, I visited the home of Sheikh Dr Ahmad Gumi where I appealed to him to help to secure the release of the 39 Afaka students and members of the RCCG (Redeemed Christian Church of God) and their Pastor who are still in the hands of bandits.”
On Friday, eight members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God were kidnapped by bandits around 7 pm on Friday along Kachia Road.
The Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna Province of the RCCG, Alao Joseph, said the abductors established contact with the leadership of the church, demanding N50 million ransom.
Alao explained that the bandits whisked away the church members and abandoned the bus they were travelling in.
“The church has contacted security agencies over the incident with the hope that they will help in securing the immediate rescue of the members,” he had said.
The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, Mohammed Jalige, told journalists that the police were working closely with the leadership of the RCCG in Kaduna to ascertain the actual number of those abducted, with a view to rescuing them alive.
Last Wednesday, Gumi, at a virtual event organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies on insecurity in Nigeria, reiterated his stance on amnesty for bandits.
He said bandits should be given amnesty so they can lay down their arms.
The cleric said he was not justifying banditry, but that the herders felt ignored, which resulted in an ethnic war between them and villagers.
He said: “If they are not shown that they’ll be safe when reintegrated into society, they will not give up their arms.
“Looking at their educational status, they don’t have any official or unofficial education.
“How can a nation which is serious about security leave a chunk of its society so uneducated; leave it to arms and drugs?
“I don’t think that society is serious. How can we disperse them, rehabilitate them? They are holding arms to protect themselves.
“If you don’t show them they’re safe in the larger society, there’s no way they can leave their weapon. And that’s why we asked for amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta.
“I’m not justifying their kidnapping; what they do is a crime. But their kidnapping is to get more money to buy more weapons so that they can protect themselves.”