Prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has revealed that about 10 percent of herdsmen in Nigeria are criminals.
The cleric made the disclosure on Tuesday when he appeared as a guest on a programme by the African Independent Television (AIT).
He added that if the government wants the criminals among the herdsmen to be exposed, then amnesty should be given to the remaining 90%.
Gumi argued that it shouldn’t be hard for the government to give amnesty to the herdsmen since it already did something similar by granting amnesty to Niger Delta militants.
In his words,
“We didn’t take a different route of trying to solve this problem and that is why we are still here today. And when we say amnesty, we don’t mean that anyone proved to be involved in murder should go free as such,” Gumi said.
“They learnt kidnapping from MEND. I do not see any difference. They were the first victims of rustling. Their cattle is their oil. What we are seeing now is more of an insurgency than banditry. I can say 10 percent of the herders are criminals not 90 percent, in the end, they took up weapons to protect themselves from extinction.
“They themselves can take care of the little remnants of criminals among themselves because they don’t want anybody to bring mayhem to them.”
As earlier reported by Naija News, Gumi also disclosed during the programme that herdsmen were not always criminals and kidnappers but were forced into the act as a form of self-defence.
The cleric added that herdsmen learnt kidnapping from the Niger Delta militants, particularly, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
According to him, it was when herdsmen became victims of cattle rustling that they learnt some of their current acts to be able to defend themselves.