Islamic Cleric, Ahmad Gumi has said bandits were innocent of the kidnapping and killing of the students of Greenfield University in Kaduna.
He said this in an interview with AIT on Tuesday, while hinting that members of the Boko Haram terrorist group, were responsible for the abduction of the students.
“When we tried to trace them and put some sense into them, the contact who is also a normadic Fulani, they threatened him. They said if he insists on them, they were going to catch him and he will have to pay ransom before he gets out,” Gumi said.
He stated that the leader of this terrorist group was not Fulani, but from the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, and added that the government had to act fast, as there was no luxury of time.
Gumi urged the government to negotiate with the abductors to avoid further loss of students’ lives, adding that no amount of money was worth the lives of the students, as the government could eventually track and recover the ransom paid.
Speaking on the issue of bandits reneging on the terms of past negotiations, the Sheikh said that the bandits had no belief in the seriousness of the government.
“They told us no government is serious and I can tell you, yes, no government is serious. Because after negotiating with them, leaving their weapons or given out some of their weapons, the reaction of the government is aloof. They leave them alone with nothing, no programme of rehabilitation, no programme to see into their welfare, nothing. And so they definitely have to go back there,” he said
The cleric noted that he had provided security agencies with the information he had on the whereabouts of the Greenfield students, and that their location was no more a secret.
“Everybody knows where they are. The parents know where they are. But it’s the lives of the students is at danger. We don’t want to see corpse of our students,” he said.
He said the bandits were mostly ready to co-operate with the government, but that the government has refused to meet with their demands of banning vigilante groups.
He advised the government not to ban the vigilantes, but to inculcate them into the Civil Defence.
He fears that the terrorists have begun to infiltrate the bandit groups which could only spell doom for Nigeria.
Twenty-two students and a member of staff of the Greenfield university were kidnapped from the school campus a few weeks ago. Five of them have been killed, and a payment of 100million has been demanded by the terrorists as ransom for their release.