Renowned Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has said Nigerians must stop labeling bandits as criminals.
He said this must be done so that bandits can surrender their weapons and embrace peace.
Speaking on Arise Television on Thursday monitored Gumi also berated the media, He accused journalists of fuelling the insecurity problem by describing the bandits as criminals.
He said if the media wants them to surrender, they should not be castigated and referred to as criminals but nice words should be used to describe them.
“You’re emphasising on criminality, even the press are criminals too because they are putting oil into fire.
“These people are listening to you, you should not address them as criminals if you want them to succumb,” he said.
He added: “Youths are ready to put down their weapons, now you are calling them criminals. How do you want them to cooperate?
“So you have to show them they are Nigerians, that they should not hurt children, be law-abiding. This is the language we want to hear, the press should assist us in getting the boys.
“You see when we talk with them with nice words, they are ready to listen to us, put down their weapons but when the language is about criminality, killing them, then this is what we will keep having.”