From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ogun Joint Campus Committee (JCC), has called on the Federal government to immediately arrest and prosecute an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, for allegedly promoting banditry in the country.
The students expressed dissatisfaction on how the Federal government is unduly treating Gumi like a Messiah when he should be treated like a “criminal” for supporting armed bandits who have been kidnapping and terrorising the country.
NANS Chairman, Kehinde Damilola Simeon, in a statement, accused Gumi of justifying armed bandits and other associated criminality ravaging the North.
The Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, who claimed he has been meeting with bandits in forests across Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, alleged that non-Muslim soldiers had carried out orchestrated killings in some communities, precipitating anger but, NANS has described Gumi’s claims as baseless and falsehood.
The NANS chairman expressed fear that Gumi’s recent comments and attitude could embolden the bandits and further jeopardise the peace and unity of the country.
He accused Gumi of exposing the military and Nigerians to further attacks by bandits with his unguarded statements.
The student’s body, thus, called on prominent Nigerians, groups and organisations to condemn Gumi’s dangerous claims in order not to give the impression that he was speaking for the region”.
NANS also called on the military and other law enforcement agents to go after the Islamic cleric and investigate him for his association with criminals and enemies of the State, wondering why an Islamic cleric and scholar, who had taken the initiative to discuss with bandits, will end up taking sides, as his statements suggested.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately order the arrest of Gumi for his alleged support and association with armed bandits. Gumi’s act portend a dangerous trend and lay a bad precedent for the country.
“His comments have the potential of pitting the exposed soldiers against general areas in the North, where they have continued to put down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of the nation from those that seek to violate it.
“Our concern is further hinged on the possibility of the world concluding that the North may be offering tacit endorsement to banditry and associated crimes against society”.
“In whatever position we find ourselves, we must endeavour to put the collective interest of Nigeria over and above all other considerations, bearing in mind the fact that when the country collapses, it will do so on all of us, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or belief.
“Gumi should be treated as criminal and not as a Messiah. His acts have further exposed the military and the entire country to further attacks by marauding bandits.”