The chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, while speaking with media practitioners at a media briefing organized by the presidential communications team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, the 14th of October, touched on key issues bothering the Nigerian security architecture. Chief among the issues discussed was the role of self-acclaimed bandit mediator, Sheik Ahmed Gumi.
The fight against banditry in the northern part of Nigeria is one that has been going splendidly in recent times, before the criminals decided to take to their heels to escape the onslaught, as opined by Sheik Gumi. While attempting to flee, it has been reported that a group of bandits stumbled upon a military camp in Niger state and were greeted by heavy gunfire, resulting in casualties on their side.
The senior special assistant to the president, Femi Adesina in his column as seen on the Opera News App, had narrated the efforts of the Buhari-led administration in the fight against banditry. According to Adesina, the bandits were currently being spoken to in a language they understood.
For the past couple of days, the Nigerian military has been bombarding the bandits in the north nonstop and several arrests have been made, including the apprehension of the notorious kingpin, Turji Kachalla. The Federal Government did not choose the carrot-and-stick approach like they did with Boko Haram, where they used both kinetic and non-kinetic tactics, much to the vexation of Sheik Gumi.
Controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, is someone who has constantly received backlash from Nigerians as a result of his unpopular opinions regarding bandits. In the past couple of months, Gumi has raised eyebrows and sent tongues wagging with his advocacy for amnesty for the kidnappers and killers, as well as the claims he made about them which ultimately turned out to be wrong.
3 Important Things Sheik Gumi Said In His Reply To Femi Adesina On Banditry And Being A Bandit-Lover
Popular Islamic cleric and Northern leader, Sheik Ahmad Gumi has responded to an article written by Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman. (Photo Credit - Whistler.ng) In the article written by Femi Adesina the presidential spokesman had taken attacked Ahmad Gumi Gumi, whom he called a 'bandit-lover'.
A lot has been said about the government's war on banditry in the north of Nigeria, from calls for it to continue to pleas to cease military action completely in favour of an amnesty deal. A strong supporter of the first motion is former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani Kayode (FFK), while an advocate of the second view is no other than the controversial cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
Popular Islamic scholar, Sheik Gumi has revealed that the best way to get rid of crime among herdsmen is through building schools for herdsmen and their children to rehabilitate them and prevent them from taking to banditry as a way of life. Image credit: Google Gumi disclosed that in February this year, he was in Janjala forest of Kagarko to meet with herdsmen to encourage them to resist and fight back against the bad eggs among them, adding that the foundation stone of a school was also done that very day.
The question of the nationality of the bandits is one that has gotten two major answers from diverse sources. One, as propounded by the controversial cleric, Sheik Gumi, is that the criminals are desperate Nigerian Fulani who resorted to banditry in order to survive. It is for this reason that he has continued to advocate for amnesty for them.
Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, an Islamic cleric, scholar, and former military officer with the rank of captain in the Nigeria Defence Academy who is currently the Mufti at the Kaduna central mosque, has declared that herdsmen are not going anywhere and that Nigerians must live with them because they are part of the Nation.
In the ongoing war against banditry in the Northern part of Nigeria, people have naturally taken sides in the affair. While some stand in support of continued military bombardment and assault on the criminals, others, most notably the controversial cleric, Sheik Gumi, have adamantly stood against it, opting for amnesty instead.
The statements made by a revered and respected religious cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi concerning the current killings and raids conducted by bandits and herdsmen is almost pitching a section of the Northern region against each other. Some of the Governors, and Northern Elders, however, have openly asked for a total attack on the bandits instead of the Cleric's position on granting amnesty for bandits.
It is no longer news that the Kaduna State-based controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has visited Igboho town in Oyo State, the home town of Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, more commonly known as Sunday Igboho. Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters Sheik Ahmad Gumi volunteered himself as intermediary between deadly bandits and government when there was need to negotiate with bandits to secure release of abducted students in Zamfara State.
Over time, the controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Gumi has whipped up sentiments with some of his statements concerning the issue of insecurity in the country. He has been known for taking a stand against the military assault on bandits and also, asking the FG to take it easy on them and offer them amnesty, on some other occasions, he has also requested to be a middle man to discuss issues of ransom payment with the bandits.
The problem of kidnapping and banditry is one that has reached unprecedented heights in recent times in Northern Nigeria. Even as the military has been deployed to checkmate their devious activities, the bandits have continued to fight back and prove themselves formidable. In the midst of all this, the controversial Islamic cleric and scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has made a name for himself for his tendency to defend the outlaws.
From all indications in recent times, gone are the days when all the northern bandits were known for was kidnapping, as previously propagated by the likes of Sheik Gumi. Nowadays, they kill as well as kidnap, or just shoot people sporadically for hours as seen in case of the Goronyo Market massacre which resulted in the loss of over 40 lives in Sokoto state.
Despite all the atrocities committed by the bandits in the northern part of Nigeria, controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has continued to advocate for negotiation to be used in dealing with them instead of military action. He recently solidified this stance in a lecture at Ahmadu Bello University, where he insisted on dialogue being used with the criminals.
The plague of banditry in the Nigerian society, especially the north, has continued to gain momentum even as efforts are being made by the government to counter it. In Zamfara state, for instance, it has been said that the bandits have virtually taken over the place, prompting the government to take desperate measures to fight back.
The news of the defection of former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has come as a shock to many people, including party members of the well-known politician. Fani-Kayode who is a known critic of the ruling All Progressives Congress and had once claimed that he would never return to the APC recently met with the President who accepted him into the party.
Amid the current offensive against bandits by the Nigerian security forces in Zamfara State, Sheik Gumi has reacted to a statement credited to Femi Adesina. The Presidential aide on media and publicity recently tagged him a 'bandit lover'. Via a post on social media, the cleric in response to Mr. Adesina's statement said that, he is not 'a bandit-lover' but 'his county-lover'.