Sheik Ahmad Gumi, prominent Islamic scholar, has said bandits are demanding that the government should build schools, hospitals and provide other basic amenities before they will lay down their weapons.
Gumi had met with bandits in forests in Kaduna and Zamfara States, and promised to relay their demands to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The cleric, in an interview with Arise TV, alleged that the military does not want terrorism to end in the country because of the huge budget being allocated to the war against insurgency.
“The military is not encouraging matters at all because they are the beneficiaries of this insecurity,” he said.
“The bandits are ready to drop their arms and return back to the fold if the federal government will accede to their simple demands such as building schools, hospitals and providing water.
“They (the bandits) are complaining mostly against the military killing innocent people. They resorted to buying arms. How did they get the arms? They resorted to kidnapping people which is an end result of these military actions.
“Look, they are ready to drop these arms and return back to the fold of the Nigerians just for simple things; schools, hospitals, water.
“And there is an allegation: the military don’t want this conflict to end because of the billions of Naira they claim for fighting insurgency. So the military is not cooperating.
“I praise the police and the Inspector-general of Police. I give him credit for assisting us to go and meet these people, but the military is not forthcoming, they are not cooperating, I don’t know why.”
However, responding to the allegation that the military is benefitting from insecurity in the country, spokesperson of the Nigerian army, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, said Gumi is entitled to his opinion.
“If a learned man, a respected Islamic scholar can say that, then it’s unfortunate. He is entitled to his opinion but all I can say is that we are sacrificing our lives to protect this nation. We are giving our best to the country.
“Does the Sheik have evidence to back up his claim? Can he prove it? This is unfortunate but that is his opinion and he is entitled to it,” he said.