About 600 suspected bandits and their commanders in Kaduna State have agreed to lay down their arms and embrace peace.
They announced the decision after a meeting with Islamic Scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and Police Commissioner Umar Muri in Sabon Garin Yadi, Giwa Local Government Area of the state.
The police chief said he was representing Inspector-General (IG) Mohammed Adamu at the parley.Gumi, in an online video posted yesterday by a Kaduna-based tabloid, Desert Herald, preached to the bandits who terrorise communities and highways in Birnin-Gwari, Igabi and Giwa Local Govermment Areas and pleaded with them to allow peace to reign .
The suspected bandits whose wives were seen in tears following the cleric’s message of peace, promised to cease hostilities and ensure security in Zaria, Giwa, and the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway.
But they warned that they would return to their old ways should security agents continue to harass their families and destroy their belongings.They also vowed to go back to the forests should the government fail to fulfill their own part of the peace deal. The details if the deal were not made available.
According to a report attached to the video, the suspected bandits gave rustling of their cattle, incessant harassment by security operatives, and neglect by the government as reasons for their resort to criminalities
The commanders of the suspected bandits said over the years, they were subjected to arbitrary arrests, extortion, and even killing of their innocent kinsmen by law enforcement agents.
One of them said: “Thousands of our youths do not have anything to do, hence the decision to go into the forest.
“We also lack government’s presence. We don’t have basic necessities like water, schools, clinics and others in all our localities, so we felt that, as long as government and the society do not change their attitude towards us, there will never be peace.”
Sheiklh Gumi, who quoted verses of the Qur’’an during his preaching said it was the first time he was hearing directly about their predicament.
He also promised to see President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues raised by them
Gumi made a cash donation of N500,000 and distributed clothes and copies of Islamic books to them.
Police commissioner Muri assured them that he would deliver their message to the police authorities in Abuja.