Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has urged Nigerian journalists to stop describing bandits as criminals.
Gumi disclosed this when he featured on a programme on Arise Television on Thursday.
The cleric said the media is adding to the insecurity problem by the names they use in describing the bandits.
He said if the media wants them to surrender, they should not be castigated and referred to as criminals but rather, 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.
“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.”
Some gunmen suspected to be bandits had last Wednesday stormed Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, abducting many students and staff members.
While one student who tried to escape was gunned down, a member of staff luckily broke loose from captivity.
A day after the attack, Gumi, who is known to have access to the bandits, met some of them in a notorious forest in Niger and later pushed for them to be granted amnesty.