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‘Allow Gumi negotiate with terrorist’, Northern elders beg Tinubu



Sheikh Ahmad Gumi

The Northern Elders Forum has backed Kaduna-based Muslim cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s proposal to engage in negotiation with the bandits who kidnapped approximately 287 pupils from Kuriga Government Secondary and LEA Primary Schools in Kaduna State’s Chikun LGA.

It suggested that Gumi might be able to obtain their release and avoid further kidnapping.

Recently, insecurity has increased in the northern area, particularly in Kaduna and Borno states.

In less than 24 hours, rebels abducted 200 internally displaced women in Borno, as well as 287 students and staff from two Kaduna schools.

The militants reportedly attacked Kuriga, shooting at their objectives before abducting the students and instructors from the schools.

In an effort to gain their release, a famous Islamic scholar has begged President Bola Tinubu to enable him to talk with the robbers.

He also asked the president not to repeat the mistake of former President Muhammadu Buhari, who refused to negotiate with the criminals.

However, the Federal Government stated on Wednesday that it would not pay “a dime” as a ransom for the release of schoolchildren, adding that they would be “brought back to safety.”.

In an interview with Saturday Punch, NEF spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman stated that Gumi should be backed “to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Kaduna.”.

According to him, dealing with robbers did not imply “condoning their actions or granting them impunity,” but rather a deliberate effort to “de-escalate” the situation and spare victims’ lives.

He said, “While some may question the legitimacy of negotiating with criminals, it is important to consider the potential benefits of engaging in dialogue. In conflict resolution, dialogue is often seen as crucial to finding peaceful solutions.

“By engaging with the bandits, Gumi may be able to understand their grievances and motivations, which could potentially lead to the safe release of the abducted children. Additionally, opening lines of communication with the bandits could pave the way for addressing underlying issues such as poverty, lack of education, and marginalisation that contribute to the cycle of violence.”

Furthermore, Suleiman said, “Moreover, pursuing a dialogue with the bandits does not necessarily mean condoning their actions or granting them impunity. It is a strategic move to de-escalate the situation and protect the lives of innocent victims.

“By initiating talks, Gumi may be able to secure the release of the schoolchildren and potentially prevent future abductions. While dialogue with bandits may seem controversial, it can be a necessary step in resolving conflicts and ensuring the safety of hostages; Gumi’s intention to engage in dialogue should be supported as a means to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Kaduna.”