Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina state, says bandits killing Nigerians in the north do not deserve amnesty.

 

Masari, whose state has been among the worst hit by banditry, tackled Ahmad Gumi, prominent Islamic cleric, for demanding amnesty for the bandits, saying that even animals killed deserve justice much less human beings.

 

The governor’s comment is coming days after the bandits released about 270 schoolgirls whom they had abducted from their school in Zamfara state.

 

In December 2019, they also took more than 300 students hostage in Kankara, Katsina state — before releasing them after six days.

 

Amid the attacks, Gumi who is known to have access to the bandits, has continued to demand “blanket amnesty” for them.

 

But in an interview with THISDAY, Masari said the bandits betrayed the government after previous attempts to grant them amnesty.

 

“Amnesty for who? Look, Gumi is doing it in 2021, we did it in 2016. At least there is something to learn from us,” he was quoted as saying.

 

“When we started the dialogue in 2016, 95 per cent of the herders living in the forest were not criminals but what is the situation today? Majority of the herders living in the forest today are bandits.

 

“Gumi should have been preaching to them on the fear of God; to understand the implications of killing somebody but certainly not amnesty because even animals are not allowed to be killed unjustly let alone human beings. He should also let the bandits know the value of their own religion.”

 

He added that there is nothing new in what the bandits are demanding but, most importantly, “they are not promoting any ideology.”

 

“Are we all happy in Nigeria? Does it mean those who are unhappy would take arms against other people? They (bandits) kept on saying they are being marginalised, how many people are marginalised and neglected in Nigeria today,” the governor asked.

“A thief is a thief and a criminal is a criminal. They are criminally- minded and can’t justify killing innocent souls.”