The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has warned against trivialising crimes committed by bandits and herders.
Quoting the Qur’an, the group listed the punishments for bandits to include either execution or crucifiction, cutting off their hands and legs from opposite sides or sending them into exile.
It is no longer news that Kaduna based Islamic cleric has been defending the bandits, insisting that they are not criminals despite their atrocities.
During an interview on Arise Television programme earlier this week, Gumi said that government security agencies must stop killing bandits, adding that they are victims too.
But in a statement signed by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of MURIC, the organisation warned against trivialising crimes committed by bandits.
The group warned against making excuses for the crimes committed by these bandits across the country, calling on the Islamic cleric to rather educate the public on the position of the Shariah regarding banditry.
“We should also let the bandits know the gravity of their crimes and the ‘kabiirah’ status of their sins,” MURIC added.
MURIC noted that banditry is categorised in Islam as waging unprovoked war against the people, Allah and the great Prophet Muhammad.
“It says, ‘The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger by spreading evil and committing atrocities in the land is either execution, or crucifiction or cutting off their hands and legs from opposite sides or sending them into exile. That is their disgrace in this world and a heavy punishment awaits them in the Hereafter’ (Qur’an 5:33).
“Note should be taken of the promise of ‘heavy punishment’ for bandits even after death. It is for this reason that we are calling on all Islamic scholars in the country to boldly rise to the task and interprete the Shariah in a befitting manner.
The Islamic human rights group called on all bandits to surrender to the state governments wherever they are operating without any form of negotiations.
“We therefore reiterate our call on all bandits and herdsmen who are traumatising Nigerians in Zamfara, Ondo, Ekiti, Enugu, Yobe, etc, to surrender without delay,” MURIC said.
“The atrocities committed by bandits and criminal herdsmen in all parts of the country should be fiercely confronted by state governments.
“Nigeria today is being slowly strangulated by two extremists, namely, those who idolise bandits and those who demonise ethnicities. Both groups are two extremes that must be deradicalised as quickly as possible.”
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had earlier accused Gumi of being the brain behind banditry, kidnapping and high rise of terrorism in the country.
Kanu was responding to Gumi’s claim that the secessionist group was killing security operatives in the Southeast while bandits only abducted students for money.
Also, a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode had berated Sheikh Gumi after the Islamic scholar asked the government to stop killing bandits.
Gumi had warned against the killing of bandits by security, calling on the government to negotiate with bandits or expect more kidnapping of students from schools in the North West.