– The prominent cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, has been asked to watch his utterances on armed banditry
– Gumi has been on the front burner of discussion with bandits and kidnappers in the north
– The northern elders, however, urged the cleric not to offer any justification over banditry in the country
Following his comments on armed banditry in Nigeria, the North East Elders for Peace and Development, have cautioned renowned Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, against justifying illegal acts and other associated criminality ravaging the north.
The Nation reports that the elders expressed fear that recent comments and attitudes of the cleric could embolden the bandits.
Legit.ng gathered that while dissociating themselves from comments credited to Gumi where he accused the Nigerian military of triggering the raging banditry in parts of the north, the elders accused the cleric of making wild and unsubstantiated claims.
The northern elders, however, insisted that Gumi’s allegations were not a representation of the position of the region, saying the public must see the same as personal sentiments of the cleric.
The group vouched for the professionalism and non-partisan nature of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
In a statement by the national coordinator of the group, Zana Goni, the elders vowed to resist attempts by any individual or group to profile the military, which they maintained, remained the most visible symbol of national unity and cohesion.
They said that the need for prominent groups and organisations in the north to condemn Gumi’s dangerous claims had become imperative in order not to give the impression that he was speaking for the region.
They argued further, by his statement, Gumi may be justifying armed banditry and all that is associated with the crime, a development, they feared, could embolden the perpetrators.
The elders wondered why an Islamic cleric and scholar, who had taken the initiative to discuss with bandits, would end up taking sides, as his statements suggested.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the brave position of Sheik Gumi in negotiating with bandits in the north was applauded by some Nigerians.
It was reported that Gumi’s call for the federal government to grant them amnesty was, however, frowned at by some groups, one of which is the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU).
Wale Akinola is a passionate journalist and researcher. He works as a senior political/current affairs editor at Legit.ng. He holds both B.A and Master’s degree in Communications and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Diploma Certificate in Peace Journalism. He has over 15 years of work experience in both print and online media. He derives joy in keeping the public abreast of current happenings locally and internationally through his writings.