The level of insecurity in the northern region is worrisome. Bandits are terrorizing innocent Nigerians in the North West and North Central while Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgents wreak havoc in the North East.
School kidnapping has become a typical occurrence in the area. Because of the operations of armed bandits, several schools in rural areas have been closed.
Food costs have risen across the country as a result of the insecurity in the north.
Farmers are no longer able to visit their farms because their lives are in danger. About 80 farmers were slain in Zamfara State a few months ago after they disobeyed bandit-issued 'no cultivating' orders.
Gumi has met a number of bandits in their hideouts. Many of them, according to the cleric, would be willing to hand over their guns if the government is willing to engage them.
Bandits, he added, are victims of injustice. Many of them are unemployed youngsters and herders going about their daily lives before stumbling across a great business opportunity (banditry and kidnapping).
However, since Gumi began meeting with bandits in their hideouts, insecurity in the north has increased. There are two major reasons for the rise in insecurity in the region.
1. Sheikh Gumi's influence: because the cleric is advocating for their interests, the bandits now believe they are fighting a legitimate cause.
They believe that if they continue to terrorize innocent Nigerians, the government will listen to Sheikh Gumi and issue a blanket amnesty. The increase in school kidnappings in the region can be attributed to this.
2. High unemployment rate in the North: Banditry persists in the North due to a lack of both formal and informal education among many young people. They can't find work because there aren't any openings.
It is easy for criminals to recruit young people because many of them are idle.
Finally, in order to address the insecurity in the north, the government must use maximum force against criminals terrorizing innocent Nigerians in the north.
No amount of amnesty will bring insecurity to an end. If the government heeds Gumi's instructions, a new group will arise to demand amnesty.
Banditry is a lucrative business that criminals will not be able to put an end to with a soft hand. In addition, the government must find a solution to the high unemployment rate in the country, particularly in the northern region.
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