At least 600 suspected bandits and their commanders in Kaduna State have surrendered their arms and embrace peace.
They announced the decision after a meeting with Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and state Police Commissioner, Umar Muri, in Sabon Garin Yadi, Giwa Local Government Area of the state.
During the meeting, Gumi appealed to the suspected bandits to stop terrorising communities and highways in Birnin-Gwari, Igabi, and Giwa Local Government Areas and pleaded with them to allow peace to reign.
The suspected bandits whose wives were seen in tears following the cleric’s message of peace promised to cease hostilities and ensure security in Zaria, Giwa, and the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway.
But they warned that they would return to their old ways should security agents continue to harass their families and destroy their belongings.
They also vowed to go back to the forests should the government fail to fulfill their own part of the peace deal.
According to the suspected bandits, some of the reasons for their actions are the rustling of their cattle, incessant harassment by security operatives, and neglect by the government.
The commanders of the suspected bandits said over the years, they were subjected to arbitrary arrests, extortion, and even killing of their innocent kinsmen by law enforcement agents.
Gumi, who quoted verses of the Qur’an during his preaching said it was the first time he was hearing directly about their predicament.
He also promised to see President Muhammadu Buhari on the issues raised by them
Gumi made a cash donation of N500,000 and distributed clothes and copies of Islamic books to them.
Also speaking, the Police commissioner assured the bandits that he would deliver their message to the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.