Security

Gumi tackles FG over declaration of bandits as terrorists, says just a ‘nomenclature’

An Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has tackled the federal government over the declaration of bandit groups as terrorists.

The cleric who is well-known for his frequent contact with the bandits had earlier claimed “Declaring Bandits as Terrorists: will come with a prize!”.

The cleric while clarifying his relationship with the bandits said “I am not supporting them [bandits]. I am only trying to find a way out of the quagmire I saw. You see, my training as a medical doctor entails that I diagnose something before I recommend treatment”.

However, a federal high court in Abuja approved the request of the federal government to proscribe two bandit groups Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda, and declare their activities as “acts of terrorism”.

Reacting to the development, Gumi said; “I think the Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country.

“It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration they are being fought and treated as terrorists.”

This was contained in a statement made available to the media by Malam Tukur Mamu, the Dan-Iyan Fika and Media Consultant to Sheikh Gumi.

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Gumi in the statement described the FG’s victory as “just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground”.

He continued; “If you can remember, IPOB was also declared a terrorist organisation. The declaration was even backed by the order of the Court, but as you can see even the international community did not recognise FG’s declaration on IPOB.

“So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.

“They have not been banned from travelling to other countries, while their citizenship remains intact; it has not been denounced. “So what type of declaration is that?

“I sincerely hope that Nigerians will not take the herdsmen as terrorists, but should regard the criminality of the few among them against innocent people as acts of terrorism just as we see IPOB and their attacks on security agencies and other northern citizens as acts of terrorism.

“Very few herdsmen are bandits if you go through their population.

“I hope this declaration will not give the licence to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking laws into their hands against them.

“It will cause more mayhem. The declaration will not change anything, it will not change the dynamics. Already the military is engaging them.

“It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against the society.

“The Fulani banditry is a socio-economic problem. We have seen it, we interacted widely with them.

“We told the federal government the way out. It can only be won through engagement, dialogue and justice.

“That is why today there is relative peace in the Niger Delta because government have accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.

 “There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for every one.

“People don’t want to accept it. Before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulani have suffered so much.

“They have lost their legitimate means of livelihood; I mean their cows through cattle rustling and extortion by security agencies.

“That has to be addressed as a means of genuine reconciliation and integration. They should have sense of belonging”.

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