A popular Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has described the kidnapping of schoolchildren by bandits as a lesser evil.
The cleric who has been visiting bandits in the forest in an attempt to negotiate a peace deal with them disclosed this while featuring on BBC Pidgin.
Gumi said kidnapping schoolchildren was a lesser evil when compared to the ransacking of towns and killing of its residents.
The cleric also stated that his meetings were yielding positive results, saying bandits are now careful about human lives.
“Kidnapping children from school is a lesser evil because, in the end, you can negotiate and now bandits are very careful about human lives,” he said.
“Before, the mission of bandits was to go into a town, ransack it and kill people. By this, I can say our preaching is working and hopefully, we are coming to an end of banditry in Zamfara and other states.
“Bandits are more careful about lives now and just want to do sensational attacks which would bring attention to themselves.”
On Friday morning, over 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata Mafara Local Government area of the state were abducted.
The gunmen were said to have arrived at the school around 1am and loaded the girls in buses.
A resident in Kawaye village identified as Seidu Muhammadu, who confirmed the development to SaharaReporters said his daughters, Mansura and Sakina, were among those abducted.
SaharaReporters learnt that the bandits arrived around 1 am with buses and motorcycles, which were used to take the pupils away.
The incident comes a week after gunmen struck the Government Secondary School in Kagara, Niger State, abducting school pupils, teachers, and workers.
On December 11, 2020, 344 secondary schoolboys were also abducted from Kankara in Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, while he was there.