Nigerian elder statesman and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has condemned the calls to grant amnesty to bandits responsible for the insecurity in the north.

According to Clark, the calls to grant amnesty to bandits in the north are obnoxious and illogical

He added that those who compared the agitations in the Niger Delta, with the killings in the northern part of the country, were “ignorant and myopic”.

Clark, who made the statement at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, said pleas by Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, for amnesty for the bandits “defies logic”.

He said the amnesty programme was not a blanket idea to be invoked or politicised for rewarding mass murderers.

“Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic cleric, has repeatedly pleaded for amnesty for the bandits. He constantly defies logic by claiming that the bandits kill because of their ‘maltreatment’ by the Nigerian state. I must commend the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), for their forthrightness in condemning the advice of Ahmed Yerima to President Bola Tinubu in which he said the president should grant amnesty to the murderous bandits.

“The amnesty advocates ignore the fact that many of the bandits are not even Nigerians. They also mistake amnesty for a blanket idea, to be politicised or invoked to reward mass murderers. It is not.

“Amnesty worked in the Niger Delta primarily because its militants anchored their fight on the sound economic and federalist principle of resource control. With their people alienated from the oil wealth extracted from their land, and the environmental despoliation in the region, the agitators had legitimate demands. But the blood-thirsty bandits ravaging the North have no legitimate, political, or economic claim that Nigeria is obliged to countenance.”

Clark also said statements by the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagabaja, calling for a scrap of the programme was regrettable.

He noted that the programme had succeeded in bringing peace to the Niger Delta and stopping the vandalisation of oil pipelines and oil platforms.

He, therefore, called on President Bola Tinubu to ignore the advice of “misinformed Nigerians”, who claimed that the programme had not contributed to the peace of the Niger Delta, while also asking the President to pay special attention to the survival of the programme.

“I strongly, therefore, appeal to Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, not to be carried away by various statements by some uninformed Nigerians that the Amnesty Programme in Niger Delta has not contributed to the peace in the Niger Delta, it has, contrary to their misgivings.

“I therefore advise the President to pay special attention to the survival of the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta which still has some phases, and the word “Interim” should be removed from the “Administrator” because the impression being given by our people is that the interim is there because the Federal Government wants to scrap the Programme.

“Meanwhile, I sincerely appeal to our youths to remain patient and not to do anything to affect the smooth operation of the oil companies while we continue to fight for our rights legitimately.”