By Sunday Ani, Chukwudi Nweje and Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Again, controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, is in the eye of the storm following his advice to the Federal Government to give land and money to bandits so that they could stop killing Nigerians.
In a live stream on his Facebook page on Tuesday, he said past attempts to broker peace with bandits failed because they were not compensated “with lands or cattle or money big enough to help halt hostilities.”
However, the Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Forum, Yoruba self-determination group, Ilano Omo Oodua (IOO), and other eminent Nigerians said his comment is akin to ceding part of Nigerian lands to foreigners.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonna described Gumi’s advice as condemnable and urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, investigate him.
“He is a security threat to Nigeria because from all indications, he knows and relates with the bandits. Gumi’s position in Nigeria is very clear; he is a security threat. He lives a double life. The one he sees as religious life, that is his public life is completely at variance with his life as an associate of bandits. The government should investigate him and deal with him seriously,” he stated.
For the president of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, it is unfortunate that a cleric, who is supposed to be showing people the way is the one misleading people.
He wondered how Gumi expects government to reward criminals who derive pleasure in killing innocent people.
“How can you reward killers? With whose land and whose money?” he queried.
“The government should deal with the bandits. If Gumi wants to join them, he is free to do that but no piece of Nigeria’s land will be given to the bandits.”
He noted that many of the bandits were foreigners and listening to Gumi’s advice would only amount to ceding part of Nigeria to foreigners.
“It will not happen and I don’t believe this government will tow that line. No wise, sane government will tow that line,” he stated.
Prof. Banji Akintoye’s Yoruba self-determination group, Ilano Omo Oodua (IOO) also lashed out at Gumi for his suggestion.
The group said Gumi is representing an interest and the suggestion has vindicated its position that what is happening in Nigeria is a state-sponsored terrorism.
IOO Media and Publicity Officer, Maxwell Adeleye, wondered why the Federal Government is persecuting Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known Sunday Igboho and other self-determination groups, who neither bear arms nor kill but has refused to arrest and prosecute Gumi who openly associates with terrorists.
“This is an actual vindication of those of us in Ilano Omo Oodua and Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self Determination (NINAS) that what is going on in Nigeria is state-sponsored terrorism. We know what Gumi represents; it is clear that he is representing an interest. He has been openly associating with terrorists and posing for pictures with them, yet he is walking the streets free while Sunday Igboho and other self determination groups are languishing in jail. The Niger Delta militants were protesting the degradation of their environment by crude oil spillage that has prevented them from fishing and farming, but what are the so-called bandits protesting for; what are their grievances? These people masquerading as bandits are terrorists, their mission is to make their region ungovernable so that they will be paid part of the crude oil money from the Niger Delta. Their mission is also to hijack the land belonging to the Nigerian people.”
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed disappointment over Sheik Ahmad Gumi’s appeal to the federal government that bandits should be set free and be compensated.
National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Emmanuel Yawe told Daily Sun that Islam does not encourage such statement, adding that it is too strange to hear such statement from a Muslim leader.
“We have never heard such statement from a Muslim, it is un Islamic to call for compensation for those who kill and kidnap innocent citizens.
“How then do you reward innocent citizens that were killed and kidnapped”. Yawe said.