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Why Nigerians Should Stop Associating Bandits With Any Religion.

Many Nigerians are concerned about the criminal activities of bandits terrorizing the Northern part of the country. However, the lack of adequate information regarding the criminal groups has led many Nigerians to make wrong assumptions about the bandits.

Recent findings have revealed vital information regarding why the bandits should not be associated with any religion.

Ace Nigerian journalist Babajide Otitoju once declared that bandits are not Muslims. Babajide had described the bandits as 'animists' instead. However, his comment drew mixed reactions from people at the time.

A recent interview with a rescued victim in Zamfara State made me recall Babajide's earlier comment regarding the religiosity of bandits in the North. The Zamfara victim claims that the bandits prevented him and other victims from praying while in their captivity. According to the victim, they got prevented from saying, 'La ilaha illallah' (there is no God but God), as the bandits would punish them for praying.

The fact that someone bears a name from a particular religion does not necessarily make him a member of that religion. However, many Nigerians continue to make this mistake.

Unlike Boko Haram and ISWAP, bandits have not claimed that they are pursuing a religious agenda, nor have they said that they wish to impose any religious way of life. This factor has partly contributed to the reasons why bandits have not been declared terrorists. Terrorism is often associated with ideologies. However, experts have continuously stated that bandits are only after money and material resources. Bandits have engaged in kidnapping and other forms of criminality for money. Recently, it got reported that bandits have allegedly started collecting taxes in some communities.

So far, bandits have not openly come out to associate themselves with any religion, and it would be wrong to do so on their behalf. Religion is a vital pillar of many societies, and it can serve as a unifying factor among people. However, religion is also a sensitive topic.

Content created and supplied by: Adegorioye (via Opera News )

Babajide Babajide Otitoju Nigerian Zamfara Zamfara State

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